Month: September 2012
Status

Small Victories

Monday, September 10th, 2012.  7weeks, 3days.

I just got home from seeing Dr. K for my follow-up ultrasound.

Things went fairly well, considering, although not perfect.

The doc was able to see the gestational sac much more clearly this time, and while it was only 5mm last week and he hoped it would be to 10mm by today, it only measured about 8mm.

He was also able to clearly see a yolk sac, which he said was a very good sign.

There was no heartbeat visible today, but with the slow growth happening, it was unlikely that we would see it before 10mm anyway.

Some good things… Growth, although slow, is good.  Yolk sac being visible is very good.  No spotting or cramping is also very good.

Some not so great things… No visible fetal pole or heartbeat yet.  Doc also saw a small bit of free blood in the uterus, which could signal that spotting and miscarriage are in my future, but maybe not.

One great thing… Dr. K walked into that ultrasound room and the first thing he said to me was “So, have you been reading anything on the internet since we last spoke?”  I almost laughed.  Of course I told him that I had, and that I felt much more prepared today for either outcome.  I also told him that I’d read up on the difficulty some women with retroverted uteruses (err… uteri?) have with early ultrasounds, and he agreed that it was often harder to get early measurements in cases like mine.

He surprised me by telling me that he always thought it was a good thing when patients educate themselves on their situation.  I do believe that man just gave me permission to Google at will…  😉

He also told me that he thinks I am amazingly strong, and said that I did well with the waiting this past five days.  He asked if I’d like to come back on Friday for a follow-up, but (because apparently I’m a masochist) I asked to come back next week instead.  I’d like to give this kid another weeks growth before we take another look.  He was surprised, but he agreed enthusiastically that it was a great idea.

I decided to wait on blood work for now.  I may cave later in the week, but for now, growth of any kind is a pretty reliable indicator that my hormone levels are where they need to be and not dropping.

I figure that a week is enough time for either a visible heartbeat, or miscarriage symptoms, especially considering the blood in my uterus.

I feel good about all of this.  It might not end happily, but I asked for what I wanted and the doctor was very supportive.  I also expressed an interest in miscarrying naturally, if that’s how this plays out, and he agreed that there is no harm in allowing myself to go through the process without medication or surgery.  I’m glad he was so supportive today, and it made the whole experience so much easier.

I still have hope that this will be my Take Home Gummy Bear, but I feel in control of the care I’m getting, and I feel very supported by everyone in my life, including the staff at the clinic.

Status

Contingency Plans

Saturday, September 8th, 2012.  7weeks, 1day.

Wednesday was rough.

Thursday was somewhat of a blur.

Even Friday had it’s wobbly moments…

Since then though, I’ve had some time to think.

I’ve deliberated, researched and made some choices that I think are reasonable.

I’ve thought through all outcomes, and now have what I feel to be a good handle on the next step for any situation we find ourselves in on Monday.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Situation #1

Ultrasound shows growth, detail, and a clearly defined baby, possibly even with a beating heart.

Moving on from here – repeat ultrasound in two weeks and remain cautiously optimistic.

Situation #2

Ultrasound is either inconclusive again, or shows no growth and points clearly to impending miscarriage; doctor recommends medication to remove remains of failed pregnancy.

Moving on from here – request blood work, seek second opinion from OB or hospital ultrasound.  If the blood work shows that my HCG levels are continuing to rise, I will decline medications and ask to be seen again for a follow up ultrasound and blood work in two weeks.

I should explain… I am not delusional or in denial about what very well could be happening at this moment.  The doctor may see this as a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable.  Others may judge me for putting off a sure thing…

However, I have done some research and have found that women with a tilted uterus like mine (shaped like a golf club, with the top of the uterus pointed well toward my spine – which is precisely where the pregnancy is located), tend to have somewhat more difficult early ultrasounds due to the location of the pregnancy being in a tough spot for the ultrasound to reach.

Miscarriages are not often misdiagnosed, but a large majority of the times that they are, it is due to that damn tilted uterus making things hard to see and even harder to measure.

Basically, if Dr. K says anything other than “there’s a baby with a healthy heartbeat measuring right on schedule”, I want to follow up with blood work to confirm that my HCG levels are not falling.  If they are, I can be at peace with what is happening, and hopefully my body will be able to miscarry on its own without the help of medications.

If the blood work shows that my HCG levels are still rising, I will ask for a second opinion ultrasound.  I just want to be sure that different people on different machines can agree on what is or is not happening in my uterus before I count myself (and my baby) out.

If everything points to a progressing pregnancy except the ultrasound findings, I will ask Dr. K to see me again in two weeks to reassess.  I figure that two weeks from Monday should put me between nine and ten weeks, and by that point there should be something visible on the ultrasound regardless of the shape of my uterus.  Two weeks may also be long enough for my body to catch up with itself if I am in fact having a miscarriage.

I know that a lot of this sounds like torture, especially given that I am not handling this current five-day wait with an especially large portion of grace, but I’ve thought it through.

This is my first confirmed pregnancy.

This is my baby we’re talking about here.

Nothing less than 100% certainty is good enough for me.  If there is even a shred of hope that some doctor using some machine could make some mistake or miss something important, then I would prefer to wait and reassess rather than jump straight to the clean-slate-meds solution.

I can never have closure if there is even a grain of doubt that I gave my baby every opportunity to progress.

If that costs me weeks of agonizing waiting and a more painful miscarriage, then it will be worth it to have that peace of mind.

I already feel better having said these things out loud (and typing them now), and after discussing it with the husband, we both feel like we can move on in a better way knowing that we did everything we could for this little life.

Of course the hope is that we will not need the contingency plan for Situation #2, but it gives me so much more confidence just knowing that it’s been thought through.  Our first ultrasound left me in a bit of shock, and I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask questions or advocate for myself and my baby.

Monday will be a different story.

I am prepared.  I can handle whatever comes my way, even if I break down several times along the road.

I have confidence in my body, and plan to stand up for what is right for me.

I am a Mama Bear now.  Even if this isn’t my Take-Home gummy bear, I am still going to protect my baby.

This kid deserves a fighting chance.

And this mama is not afraid of a fight.

Status

7 Weeks

Friday, September 7th, 2012.  7weeks.

I woke up this morning feeling great.

Like, scary great.

I don’t know for sure if I’m psyching myself out here, but I’m about 80% certain that I woke up without any pregnancy symptoms today.

I’m not nauseated.

I’m not tired.

I’m not hungry or thirsty.

Even my breast tenderness has faded to a tolerable level when just a couple of days ago it was torturous.

I suspect that my HCG levels are dropping.  I have no way of knowing if this is true, however, because Dr. K didn’t order blood work for me on Wednesday.  I may pee on a stick tonight to see if the lines have lightened at all.

I’m starting to accept what is happening…

If I started to cramp and spot over the weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least.

If, somehow, we get good news on Monday, I will be shocked.

If we get the bad news I expect, I’ll still be devastated, but a small part of me will be saying, “I told you so…”

This is such a shitty place to be.

 

Status

Doubt

Thursday, September 5th, 2012.  6weeks, 6days.

I know I shouldn’t have, but I did it anyway.

I Googled.

I really just wanted to find some success stories of other women who had inconclusive or just plain bad first scans, who then went on to have healthy babies.

I found some of those.  Lots, in fact.

I also found some of the others.

The stories where the women had a blighted ovum or missed miscarriage.  Where their babies died, or never started to properly develop, but their bodies kept right on pumping out the pregnancy hormones.  They had symptoms right up until their D&Cs…

Is that me?

Are these symptoms real?

Have they been fading a bit each day?

Have I been oblivious and blind with hope?

I feel like maybe I had more symptoms at the very beginning.

I recall being very scatter-brained from the start.  I don’t feel that way so much now.

I also remember being very, very tired.  I’m still going to bed early, but I no longer really feel like I am going to pass out on my desk at 2pm every day.

I had some pulling/twingey/almost-cramping feelings at the start, too.  No longer.

I also had that one occurrence of what I thought was “morning” sickness, just last Friday.  Nothing like that since, and nothing before it, although I have felt that same feeling of over-fullness and near-nausea several times since then, particularly after eating.

Some things have persisted since the very start…

I’m still hungry all the time.

My “girls” still hurt like someone is sticking red-hot knitting needles through them.

I still have some random nausea, particularly in the morning before I’ve eaten or drank anything, and any time I brush my teeth.

I am doubting my body.  I am starting to question these things I though were surefire pregnancy symptoms.  I’m constantly wondering if my mind is playing tricks on me…

I am not ignorant, nor am I the type of person who can live happily in denial.  If this pregnancy isn’t progressing, I want to know.  If my baby is just a bit of a slow-poke, I’m fine with that.  I really just want confirmation, and from the sounds of the other stories out there in Googletropolis, waiting is the only way to really know.

I really despise Limbo.  It’s the most painful place to be because there is no forward motion, no moving on.

I’m just stuck.

Sad, scared, and full of doubt.

I’m trying to maintain hope, but it only comes in tiny increments.

I am praying with every fiber of my being that Monday brings happy answers.

Even bad news would be something from which I could move forward…

I just need something.  A scrap.  A shred of information.

I just need it to be Monday.

Image

I Don’t See Anything…

Here’s the ultrasound photo from this morning.

I don’t see anything that looks promising.  Nothing like the images out there showing an obvious gestational and yolk sac, fetal pole, and fetus.

I don’t see anything…

It’s going to be a long wait till Monday.

 

Status

Less Than Ideal.

The doctor didn’t see what he wanted.

At first, he didn’t see anything at all.

After a while though, he located something he thought was a gestational sac, although it was very small.

He expected to see something measuring about 10mm today, but what he found barely measured 5mm.

He expected to maybe even see the tiny flicker of a heartbeat.

There was none.

He wants to see me back again on Monday for a follow-up ultrasound, and if Gummy Bear hasn’t made it to 10mm by that point, I’ve basically been prepped on my options for miscarriage.

I have a tiny picture.  It’s sad and empty.

I keep hoping my bladder was too full, or my uterus was too tilted.

I keep hoping the doctor was wrong.

He was nice about it, though… He gave me some small shreds of hope.  His face told me what I needed to know, however.

I’m preparing for the worst, and hoping for a miracle.

Actually, preparing and hoping are on tap for tomorrow… for today, I’m just numb and sad and too upset to even eat my feelings.

*sigh*

Why can’t this be easy?

Status

The Big Day.

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012.  6weeks, 5days.

I realize that life has already given me many “big days” at this point, and that there are many, many more to come, but today… today is BIG.

In just a couple of hours, the husband and I will head to Dr. K’s office for our first ultrasound.

If things go well, we will see our little Gummy Bear!

If things go badly, we may leave the office with a whole different set of plans to make…

I’ve been careful so far.  Careful to ensure that any conversation about this pregnancy includes two possible paths diverging on this exact date.  One path leads to our miracle baby.  The other path loops around, and we head back to the starting line.

There are a few people who keep saying things like “Why do you let yourself think like that?” and “There’s no reason to think this won’t work out, so why are you focusing on the negative?”

That’s the thing… I let myself think about all possible outcomes so that no matter what happens, I am at least somewhat prepared.  And yes, there is a reason to think this may not work out, and I’m just trying to be realistic.

I’m doing it to protect myself.

It’s so easy to let the happiness run my life, and I really want to let it!  I just know that if the unthinkable happens today, I will only find comfort in the fact that it wasn’t so unthinkable… I’m not afraid because in my mind, I’ve been here before.  I know how to move forward from this.  I’m not lost.  I can try again.

Once I’ve accepted the idea that there are not always happy endings, I can be secure in the knowledge that I have faced the reality of every outcome.  I know what can happen… now I am allowed to hope for what I want to happen.

However, despite all that, only a very, very small part of me is preparing for the worst.

The rest of me is vibrating with hope that this rather obvious set of symptoms means that my Gummy Bear is healthy and growing, and that this first ultrasound will be the beginning of a happy path to our Take Home Baby.

Whatever happens, I will do my best to report back here as soon as I can.

I’m prepared to report bad news, but I fully expect to post my baby’s first photo.  🙂

Status

Worst Date Ever

Saturday, September 1st, 2012.  6weeks, 1day.

Yesterday is a bit of a blur.

Since we were on the brink of a holiday weekend, the office closed two hours early.  Score!

I took advantage of that time and drove up to meet the husband about an hour-ish north of here at a hotel, where we dropped off my car and our bags, and then took off to head to MSU for tailgating and the big game for the husband, and my planned hangout with an old friend.

But then, the craziest thing happened…

Turns out IT’S A HOLIDAY WEEKEND.  And we weren’t alone on the roads.

I swear to you, millions of other drivers were out yesterday, and they were all going where we were.  I mean, what with the last travel weekend before school starts, move-in weekends at all the state colleges, and college football starting up, we really should have known.

It was fine, though.  We made it to East Lansing, if a little later than we would have liked, at least relatively on time.  Only a few things had to be glossed over in order to make our commute faster.

Like food.

Because the office closed early, I never ate lunch… only a late breakfast of hash browns, peppers and cheese, covered in hot sauce.  And I don’t even LIKE hot sauce… Hmm.

We skipped dinner in lieu of making better time on the roads, and I knew that once we got into town and I had met up with my friend, we would go someplace where I could get some food.

Foolishly, I hadn’t packed any snacks with me, either.  Dumb, Tracy.  Dumb.

I was fine when we pulled into town.  The husband slowed down the car enough so I could tuck and roll safely onto a street corner, where I was quickly collected by my good old friend Chris, who I haven’t spent much time with since high school.

The husband got to the game safely and on time, and Chris and I ventured into Lansing to find food, trading sarcastic remarks along the way.  We picked up right where we left off in school…

Just like old times.

We ended up at a barbeque restaurant that had only opened a few months prior.  When we sat down to order, I started feeling… not so swell.

I chalked it up to hunger.

I ordered big – pulled pork, mac and cheese, and cheese fries with bacon chili.  Oh yes.

I ate eagerly at first, and stopped when I felt myself filling up.  I knew it wouldn’t be beneficial to be overly full so early in the evening.

After dinner, my digestive system decided it was unhappy.  I assume because of the unexpected consumption of so much hot sauce earlier in the day.

Chris and I walked along the river in town for a bit, and then headed back to the car to find a sports bar where we could watch the game.

On the short drive to the bar, my digestive fortitude began to decline at a rapid pace.  It was a relief when we arrived.

Chris and I found a spot on the abandoned patio, figuring the fresh air would help.  I promptly ordered some water, popped about five pieces of the mintiest gum I could find, and headed to the bathroom.

Over the course of the night, and the whole entire game, I was in the bathroom more than I was out of it.  I never actually got sick, but I was sure that vomit was imminent.

I heard the game end as I was kneeling over a public toilet.  (MSU won, by the way!)  Shakily, I got myself washed up and back to Chris.  We talked about our options, and decided the best thing would be to head back to his house, which was mercifully close by, and I could wait there for the husband to pick me up after he made his way out of the post-game melee.

The car ride back to Chris’ house was short, but unfortunately meat-scented due to the doggy-bag we’d left in the car while we were watching the game.  Needless to say, we enjoyed some fresh air with all the car windows rolled down.

Once we’d arrived and I had sent a text to the husband explaining the urgency with which he needed to collect me, I retired to Chris’ bathroom where I promptly voided the contents of my stomach.

Let me just say this:  pulled pork is delicious, but coming back up, it’s pretty much like barbeque-flavored sawdust.  Ugh.

By the time the husband arrived, I was pretty much empty.  He and Chris talked sports for a bit, and Chris supplied me with several plastic grocery bags and some paper towels… you know, for the wretched forty-minute drive back to the hotel.

As we were leaving his house, I thanked him for his hospitality.

“I’m so sorry about tonight.  I am the worst date ever.  I’ll make this up to you someday, when I can eat again, I swear.”

To which he replied, sarcastic as ever, “As dates go, spending the night hanging out with a married, pregnant chick who spent most of the night in the bathroom, leaving me to chat with the waitress who had a boyfriend, and then taking her home where she puked all over my house is not my ideal date.  However, it’s definitely not the worst date I’ve ever had, which is pretty sad.  You might look like crap, but at least you were good company.”

Just like old times.  🙂

In closing, I’ll say this… I was able to keep whatever stomach contents I had left for the entire drive home.  (Thankfully.  The husband does not tolerate such things well, and it really wouldn’t have been a picnic if we were both up-chucking on the side of the highway.)  I felt a lot better by the time we reached the hotel, although I was exhausted.  We slept well last night, and got breakfast on our way back home.  I had several other snacks throughout the day today, and have felt superb.

I just finished two pieces of pizza, however, and have this ominous feeling that I may not be able to hang onto it as long as I’d planned…

So many people have said that 6 weeks is when the morning sickness started for them.  I didn’t expect 6 weeks to the day to bring on a sudden after-dinner sickness like that!

As miserable as it was to be sick away from home, I went to sleep relieved last night.

Something is in there.  Something that is trying to teach me when, and what, to eat.  Something that punishes me when I get the answers wrong.

Something is in there.

Well… not something exactly.

Someone.  🙂

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