Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Pregnancy

I refuse to be one of those bloggers that apologizes for a lack of posts.  I've said all along, this blog is for me (and Bob) to remember our journey.  Now that she is here, I want to go back and write about the pregnancy, naming her, making the nursery, labor and delivery, and whatever else feels important to me.

I'm going to start with the pregnancy...

The pregnancy was really easy for me from the beginning.  I never once had morning sickness or any of the other nasty side effects that some women do when they are pregnant.  I am know I am lucky for that.  For 9 months, I was tired and hungry, but I don't think that's anything to complain about.  I did have some pretty intense heartburn at times, but nothing a Tums or Pepcid couldn't fix.  In fact, if I complained about anything, I think it was the fact that I had no symptoms (I know, I'm crazy!) because it made it hard for me to believe.

The first time I felt her move was September 26, 2012 around 12:30pm.  I was past 20 weeks at this point, and had been a bit frustrated and unsettled that I hadn't felt anything yet, but was assured by my doctor that everyone feels their baby at different times, and that sometimes first time moms don't realize that what they are feeling is the baby moving.  I was sitting in the basement of my work listening to my coworker give a presentation about consumer insights.  I leaned over to my coworker Jen and told her I thought I felt the baby move and we both teared up.  That night I went home and Bob sat with his hand on my belly for an hour waiting to feel her.  He finally did and it was amazing.  I can't really explain what it was like to feel her move - I finally believed that she was in there and growing and that this was really happening. 

As exciting as it was to feel her move, it quickly led to mixed emotions.  I remember Jen telling me at work that now that I felt her move once, I would feel her all the time.  Oh, how I wish that had been true.  I wish I had been one of those pregnant people that was kept up all night because their baby was having a belly dance party.  That was not the case for me.  I felt her off and on for the next few months, but whenever I compared experiences with my other pregnant friends, I didn't feel like it was nearly as often as they were feeling their babies. 

We had a regular check up on December 11 where Bob mentioned that I hadn't been feeling her.  Immediately they hooked me up to a monitor for a non stress test.  It took a few minutes to find her heart beat, but as soon as they did, it was strong.  I had to sit in a chair for 20 minutes, connected to one monitor for her heartbeat, one to measure any contractions I may be having, and also push a button any time I felt her move.  She passed the test just fine, and we learned that she moves a lot more often that I can feel her - we could constantly hear the movement through the monitor but I rarely felt it.  Knowing that everything was fine, she sent me home and told me to do kick counts twice a day - lay on my side for 30 minutes and count how many times she kicked.  The goal was at least 10, and if it was consistently much lower than that, I needed to call the doctor. 

On December 13, Bob was in Cleveland and I was doing my nightly kick count.  In half an hour, I only felt her kick 3 times.  That morning, I had also only felt 3 kicks and I didn't remember feeling any at all throughout the day.  I called Bob in a panic and he told me to call the doctor.  The doctor on call was not our usual doctor, but he told me to go to the hospital to get monitored, which is what I expected.  Since Bob was gone, Amy took me to the hospital.  I got hooked up to a monitor and they were able to quickly find her heartbeat.  Once again, we could hear her moving even though  I wasn't feeling anything.  They were getting ready to send me home when I started having some regular contractions.  At about this time, my mom arrived so Amy could go home.  They gave me IV fluids and continued to monitor me.  A little while later, Bob arrived so my mom could go home (it was about 3 in the morning at this point).  The contractions stopped and they concluded that it was caused by possible dehydration and my stress level and they monitored me for awhile before sending me home.  Once again, all was fine.

At my doctor appointment the following week, we told him what had happened and he explained that he wanted to be cautious and treat me as he would treat his wife or sister.  As a result, I would be getting weekly ultrasounds and non stress tests for the remainder of the pregnancy.  The ultrasound that day showed that I had an anterior placenta - meaning that the placenta was between the baby and the outside of my belly, meaning the baby had an extra barrier to kick through in order for me to feel it.  While this explained why I rarely felt movement, it didn't solve all the problems.  One of the only ways we can tell that the baby is safe between appointments is by feeling movement, and since I couldn't do that regularly, he wanted to continue to monitor me.  Even though it meant extra appointments and stress, I felt so at ease knowing that he wanted to do everything he could to keep me and the baby safe.

Appointments continued on just fine for about the next month or so.  We had a wonderful Christmas and New Years and the nursery and house were ready for the baby.  We were just waiting for her to finish growing.   Then on January 9, I went the whole day without feeling a kick.  After talked to Bob and calling the doctor, I was told to go to the hospital.  Bob was on his way back from Cincinnati, so my mom met me at the hospital.  They hooked me up to a monitor and it took the nurse 7 minutes to find her heartbeat.  I'm pretty sure my mom and I were holding our breath the entire time.  Once again, as soon as she registered on the monitor, her stats were fine.  Almost as soon as they found her, Bob got there.  Our doctor happened to be on call and she came in and explained that since I wasn't feeling her move, they couldn't release me until I had an ultrasound.  Since it was 7pm and it was non emergent, I couldn't get an ultrasound until the morning, which meant we were staying the night.  Again, this was all to be cautious, but I was content playing it super safe.  The ultrasound checked out just fine and we were released early in the morning.

Until these incidents, I had every intention of letting the baby come when she was good and ready - even if it was late.  However, the uncertainty got harder and harder for me, and for Bob, each day.  I was constantly worried and the days between weekly tests seemed never ending.  Because of all of this, we started talking to the doctor about induction options at 38 weeks... (more to come on the labor and delivery in a future post)

All in all, I would say I had an amazing pregnancy.  I truly enjoyed it.  I loved the anticipation and possibility of all she could be, I loved preparing her room, our house, and our lives for her.  I loved daydreaming about all the things we would do together and I loved talking to Bob about it.  I loved getting to see her beautiful face and growing body on the ultrasound screen each week, and I loved closing my eyes and listening to her perfect heartbeat.  It was truly an amazing experience.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's a...

It’s a girl!  Some of you may have already heard the news, but it’s so fun to share!  I can honestly say that we didn’t care either way.  We’re just so happy to be having a baby, and a boy or a girl would have been the perfect addition to our family.  I will say, there is pressure from the Kimball family for us to have a boy one day…37 great grandchildren and none to carry on the Kimball name!...guess that means we’ll have to do this again in a few years. :)

We don’t have a name picked out, but it’s great being able to say she/her instead of it.  It makes it so much more real.  For those of you that don’t know, when we first started talking about having a family, I said I would want to find out and Bob said he would want to be surprised.  I spent awhile convincing him that we should find out, and he got on board.  Then, all of the fertility stuff happened and I decided I wanted to be surprised, but I had Bob convinced that we should find out.  I was hesitant, but I’m so glad we did.  Maybe if there’s a future baby we’ll be surprised, but for now it’s fun knowing.

Now all the planning and preparing can start!  We went on a mini pink clothes shopping spree right after we found out.  It was so much fun.  Bob had more clothes in his hand than I did!  I think this baby is already wrapped around her daddy’s finger.  He was really quiet at the appointment right after they said it was a girl and I asked him if he was okay.  He said, “Yea, I’m just thinking about all the 16 year old boys I’m going to have to beat up one day…” 

I have a couple ideas for decorating the nursery, and wanted to try to get our friends and family involved.  I am trying to pull great quotes from books, movies and songs.  Some of the ones I have found are from classic books and kids movies, but they don’t have to be.  Just something upbeat, inspiring, or sweet.  Just to give you an idea of what kind, I have the Beatles, Willy Wonka, Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss.  If you have any favorites, I’d love to hear them!  In a few months, I’ll show you how they are a part of the nursery.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Room 8

I've written about the day in January of 2011 a couple of other times.  I know people say that when they get bad news, they remember what they were wearing, the weather, the exact conversation... there's a lot of details I don't remember about that day.  I don't remember most of what the doctor told us or our responses.  But I remember the room. 

Yesterday, we went back into that same room, and met with the same doctor.  Before she walked in, Bob and I had a conversation realizing that it was the same room.  We kind of told the room "F - You!"  So yes, it was the same room.  Only this time, we got to listen to the heartbeat and hear the doctor say that everything is looking great.  It. Was. Amazing. 

And also, since it's been a long time since I've updated, here's what you've missed.
  • I eat all the food.  Except yogurt and bananas.  And by all the food, I mean that if I'm eating a meal with someone who has leftovers, I sometimes shamelessly ask them for a few bites.
  • I sleep all the time.  I go from being wide awake one minute to deep sleep the next.
  • Other than being hungry and tired, I have not had a single pregnancy symptom or issue.  I am so lucky for that, I know!  (ok, and a small side of crazy hormones)
  • We have confirmation that it is just one baby, sorry to disappoint anyone hoping for twins!
  • The heartbeat was in the 130's.  People say that means boy.  The doctor said it's right in the middle of meaning anything and just means the baby doesn't want us to know yet.
  • Our 20 week ultrasound is September 11.  Which means I'm already 17 weeks!!!  So, we'll all know what it is soon!  Get your guesses in!
  • I haven't had any crazy cravings, and I really want to wake Bob up in the middle of the night NEEDING something RIGHT NOW.  So, if anyone has any fun suggestions, let me know!
We are feeling so lucky and blessed right now!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Guess What?!?!?!

Bob and I are having a baby!!!! 

After quite a journey, we can now officially say we are going to be parents.  Typing and saying those words is so surreal.  For as much as I have tried to be positive and optimistic from the beginning, there were days where it was hard to believe  it would happen, but we are!

So, I'm about 10 weeks along.  Still in the first trimester.  I don't have an official due date yet, but according to all the online calculators I've used, it's January 29. 

I feel great.  I am lucky to say I haven't had any morning sickness or bad symptoms yet.  I am tired and hungry all the time.  Actually, the lack of symptoms has made me a little paranoid, because it makes it hard to believe it's real!  Bob tries to laugh it off and remind me how lucky I am to feel good.  I even talked to our fertility doctor about it.  He told me it's great, but it's completely normal to be as worried as I am. 

I know some people are curious about what it took to get us to this point, so I have written a few posts to explain the process, which started a little over 2 months ago.  I have them linked below.  Read them if you're interested.  Either way, the outcome is the same - theres a BABY in MY belly!!!!!!

IVF Process - April 11, 2012

IVF Process - April 19, 2012

IVF Process - April 26, 2012

IVF Process - May 7, 2012

IVF Process - May 23 - June 27, 2012

We can't thank you enough for your love and support!!!

I can't say enough how lucky we are to have the friends and family that we do.  I can't say enough how lucky I am that I married Bob.  I've mentioned before that this blog is honestly for me more than anything.  I write so I can understand and I write so I can remember.  I also write because I hope someone else will stumble on this and it will help them.  We were lucky to have people placed in our life since our diagnosis that have been or are in similar situations as us. 

IVF Process - May 23, 2012 - June 27, 2012

Well, so much has happened in a little over 2 weeks - ending in a POSITIVE pregnancy test.

May 8 - We went in for our egg retrieval. They were able to successfully retrieve 10 eggs. After the retrieval, I went home and we just relaxed (I slept) off and on for the rest of the day. I was able to go back to work the following day.

May 9 - We received a phone call letting us know that 7 of the 10 eggs were successfully fertilized. 1 of the eggs was too immature, so they didn't try to fertilize it, and 2 of them didn't take. They were really happy with that number. They also confirmed that I would be doing the transfer on May 13 - Mother's Day.

May 13 - We went in for the embryo transfer really early in the morning. We talked with the doctor early on and decided that we would place 2 embryos. This obviously means that I would have a greater chance of having twins, if both of them attached to my uterus, but it also increased the chances that I would get pregnant with at least 1 baby. The strongest embryos were numbers 3 and 7, so in they went. We also got a little ultrasound picture to take home with us.

May 14- I was on bed rest for the day. Bob spent a lot of time taking care of me and balanced his day with his busy Monday paperwork.

The next 9 days were never-ending. All we wanted was to know the results. We were on pins and needles. I was supposed to start following all the "rules" of being pregnant. Also, I had to start a new round of shots. These shots are a little less pleasant. Longer needle, and injected into the muscles of my booty. They cause knots and bruising, and stiff muscles. Also during this time, the nurse, Erin, called to check on me. (I'm sure it's part of what they do - but she is seriously amazing!) Unfortunately, she also told us that they were unable to freeze any of the extra embryos. They weren't strong enough to survive the freezing process, and even if they had survived that, they wouldn't have survived the thawing. This was devastating news, for two reasons - first, we were counting on them to be able to use if this round didn't work we wouldn't have to go through the whole process again. Second, we have always hoped to have a family with more than one child, and had agreed that we would give every frozen embryo a chance. Now if we want to continue to grow our family, we will have to start at the beginning.

May 23 - Bob and I both took the day off work. (We had tried our best to maintain our normal work and life routine all along, but definitely agreed that we wanted to spend this whole day together) We had to get up and out the door in enough time to be in Ann Arbor by 10:30 for a blood test. Most of my blood test and monitoring appointments had been local, but on Wednesdays, the local appointment times do not allow the blood to get to the lab soon enough to get the results on the same day. We could have tested locally, but didn't want to wait a whole extra day for the results. Testing in Michigan was stressful because most people have a hard time finding my veins. It took the nurse 3 tries over a 30 minute period with 2 different kinds of needles before she was able to successfully draw. The lab driver ended up waiting on me before he could go to the lab. We were told they would give us a call with the results sometime between 3 and 4, so we went home to wait.

My phone rang around 3:45. Bob and I had been lying in bed pretending to watch TV. We expected the call to come from the Michigan office, so I felt very at ease right away when I saw the local office number on the phone. The conversation went like this.

Nurse - "Hi, how are you?"
Me on speaker phone - "I'm not sure tell me."
Nurse - "Well, I think you're going to be pretty good. Your test was positive!!!!"
Me - a lot of things I don't remember including asking if she was serious and thanking her a million times

We set up my next appointment and hung up the phone. I was shaking, Bob was crying and we were both speechless. I can honestly say without hesitation it has been the best moment of my life so far. Words will never be able to describe how I felt.

So then we wanted to go tell our family. (I'm writing down this process and the reactions so I never can skip this paragraph if you're not interested...) We decided to go in geographic order. First stop was Amy’s. Turns out she and my sister had been texting each other all day to see if they had heard anything. Amy and Erin were both home, and her response was priceless. Jumping up and down, tears, hugs, shaking...followed by the most genuine text message after we left. The boys weren't home, but we didn't want them to know yet because it was so early. Meghan jumped up and down with us, but she didn't know why she was so excited. On our way to the next stop, we called my brother. He was at work. I reminded him about how when I told him we were getting engaged he confused me mentioning that there would be baby at the wedding (Caden!) he thought I meant we were pregnant then. But we weren't and now we're pregnant for real!!! He screamed and was so excited, all while at work. Next stop was the Kimball parents. By this time I was bursting at the seams to tell my mom and dad and I felt like Bob was driving way under the speed limit. Mom K was at the door when we pulled in the driveway - tons of excitement and hugs. As soon as we realized Dad K wasn't there we were out the door because I felt like we couldn't tell people fast enough. We went to his bus garage, but he wasn't there. He also didn't answer his phone. Laura was at work in Michigan so we called her. She answered the phone and said "Is it baby Wednesday?!?!?!!" We were on the way to surprise my very pregnant sister at work. I kept calling her assistant and she wasn't answering, but I wanted to see if Jen was there anyway. She wasn't. Next I called my dad’s assistant. He wasn't there either. DIDN'T ANYONE KNOW WE HAD A HUGE SURPRISE FOR THEM?!?!?! My sister and Bob's dad called back while we were driving to my parents’ house. We told Bob's dad it was a secret and he said "Well I'm alone in the garage so I can do what I want...I'M GONNA BE A GRANDPA AGAIN!!!" By this time I'm in my parents driveway and my sister is trying to help me figure out where my mom is. Turns out we missed her by 5 minutes and she's running to the store before going to childbirth class with my sister. I'm talking to my dad while standing in his driveway lying to him telling him we haven't heard yet but I will come over in a little bit and wait at his house for the call and he should head home soon. So now we go ambush my the grocery store parking lot. Priceless. Apparently, she and my dad had been on the phone analyzing every word and tone of my conversation with him trying to figure out what was going on. So then we go back to my parents and pretend to have a normal conversation with my dad.  Finally, after about 15 seconds of faking normal, Bob told him we knew but we wanted to tell him in person and I will never forget the look on my dads face.  That night we called the rest of our wedding party, who had been up to date on the whole IVF process, then went and got ice cream. 

Getting to tell people we’re having a baby was so much fun. 

As I mentioned before, a positive pregnancy test doesn’t mean we’re in the clear – not for a normal pregnancy and definitely not for an IVF pregnancy.  I had to go in every other day to have my hormone levels tested, and in order for it to be considered a good pregnancy, they had to approximately double every time.  I passed every time!!  Once they passed a certain point, I was in the clear for that.

We also had ultrasounds on a regular basis.  At our 6 week ultrasound, the doctor was able to see the heartbeat.  It was way too small for us to see, but he assured us it was there.  He also confirmed that it was just one baby.  The same happened at our 7 week ultrasound.  We didn’t have to go in at 8 weeks.  At 9 weeks, our baby was the size of a prune.  When he enlarged the image on the screen, were able to see the baby for the first time.  Not only could we see the baby, we could see its tiny heart beating.  It was seriously the most amazing thing I have ever seen. 

At the end of our 9 week appointment, our doctor said I needed to come back 1 more time, at 11 weeks, and then we would start seeing a regular OB.  Unfortunately, our doctor would be on vacation for the 11 week visit.  I would be seeing his partner, in Ann Arbor, who I had seen once before and thought was great, too. 

This led me to a very emotional goodbye with our local office.  He asked me to please come back when we had the baby and send pictures and he told us he couldn’t wait to help us grow our family more in a couple of years.  We thanked him a million times and hugged him.  I’m getting choked up thinking about it.  This man changed our life and was so caring while doing it.  I cannot say enough of his office and the work he does.  Saying bye to my nurse was just as hard.  I asked her if they could just by my OB the whole time because they are like my safety net.  Apparently, they don’t do that.  I’m sure I will have a great experience with our OB, but I will miss this office so much.  It was a horrible time for us, an emotional and scary journey, and they made it all okay.

IVF Process - May 7, 2012

Well, we successfully made it through shots!  The days actually passed by pretty quickly.  Bob was home off and on, and when he wasn't home, Amy was able to give me the shot, so I never had to give myself any!  After a few days on the original dosage, the doctor bumped up one of the meds.  I had bloodwork and ultrasounds done every other day to monitor my hormone levelsand my follicle growth.  And they definitely grew!  Each ovary hasabout 10 follicles on it, and they grew at a steady pace, which is exactly what the goal was.  I won't lie and tell you that I have been butterflies and rainbows the past few weeks.  The hormones are pretty intense, and sometimes the reality of all of this is a lot to handle.  But I'm lucky to have Bob,and we are lucky to have amazing support.

On Friday we got a phone call that they wanted us to come to Ann Arbor for a Saturday appointment because everything was growing so well. Because it was a Saturday, it wasn't our normal doctor or nurse, but their partners.  They were still awesome.  The ultrasound showed about 20 follicles and they were all about 18mm.  This means that we were about 3 days ahead of schedule.  The doctor printed out the ultrasound picture and handed it to me and said "hopefully this is your first baby picture!"

We go in tomorrow morning (Tuesday) for the egg retrieval.  The goal,obviously, is to remove all the follicles (eggs).  The catch is that the 10 on my right ovary are really easy to get to, but the 10 on my left ovary are positioned behind my uterus.  They will try to remove all of the follicles, and are confident that because I will be under anesthesia they should be able to, but it is possible that we may lose a couple.

So, tomorrow the eggs come out and are fertilized.  Wednesday they will call us and let us know the final number of fertilized embryos. Just because we have 20 eggs, doesn't mean that they will all successfully fertilize. They will be monitored for 3 to 5 days and then they will put 2 back in. Any others that were successfully fertilized will be frozen and saved for us to use later. We will know 2 weeks from tomorrow if the procedure was successfulor not.  I will have to continue on some shots and hormone medicine as they continue to monitor whether or not I am pregnant.  And, as I have mentioned before, we will be finding out very early on, so even if the test ispositive, they will have to monitor me very closely to make sure thateverything is okay. 

I'm feeling a few extra positive vibes about the whole things because tomorrowis my dad's birthday and 5 days later, when they will most likely be transferring them back, is Mother's Day. 

I can't believe how fast this process has gone over the past few weeks, but I am sure the next 14 days will seem really slow.

IVF Process - April 26, 2012

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  The tagline they are using this year is "Don't Ignore..."  I think it's a great concept and am doing what I can to show my support for awareness, education, and the other 7.3 million people in the US that are also dealing with infertility. 
I think it's fitting that I started my shots during NIAW.  Also, the same week that a couple who has publicly be dealing with their fertility struggle (Giuliana and Bill) announced that they are pregnant.  AND the same week that a friend of a friend is going in for her embryo transfer.  (prayers for them, please!)

Bob has been out of town at a conference for work this week.  I know it's been hard on him not being here and feeling like he's not helping me, but we agreed in the beginning that we would choose what he needed to schedule his travel around, and this week it was okay for him to be gone.  Amy went with me to my appointment on Monday.  I had a baseline ultrasound and bloodwork so they could track what was going on when we started.  The nurse also sat down and went over how to mix the shots, when to take them, what to expect, etc.  Amy took awesome notes and asked questions to make sure we were all set to start.

I think I mentioned before that we ordered our meds from overseas to save a huge amount of money...well one package arrived, but the other hasn't yet.  This means that, every day until the package comes, we will have to go to the pharmacy at the hospital to get the supply we need for the shot that night. Thanks to my momma for being on standby to pick up whatever I need from the pharmacy.

My first shot was last night, and Amy was ready to help me with it.  She patiently mixed everything and showed me how to do it while I stood next to her, almost frozen.  She told me she could feel my tension.  The shot itself isn't bad, it burns for about 3 seconds and then it's over.  Mixing the shot, in my opinion, is the worst part.  One vial with liquid and 3 other vials with meds and you have to put one into the other, let it dissolve, pull it out, put it in the next one, and so on until they are all mixed together.  We want to make sure we get every drop of the hormonal goodness that is in the vials and that nothing gets contaminated in the process, because that could cause infection.  The original goal was for her to show me how to give myself the shots, but after last night, I'm feeling like she will be showing Bob and either Amy or Bob will be giving me the shots every night.  I'm sure this is something I could do on my own if I needed to, but since I have Amy, Bob and my mom on standby, I think I'm going to avoid that stress for myself.  Once again, we are so lucky to have the support around us that we do. 

On Monday I will start going to the doctor every other day to watch the follicles (hopefully) grow.  On May 7, we should find out when they are going to retrieve the eggs.  Sooo in the meantime, fingers crossed for growing follicles!