Hello 2nd Trimester!

Somehow baby and I have made it into the second trimester.  Here we are at 14 weeks and 2 days and so far things seem to be sailing along smoothly.  Baby has been measuring right on track with a beautiful heartbeat all along, growing appropriately, and at my last ultrasound (which was for the first trimester screening), the baby was moving around like crazy, sucking its thumb, rubbing its eyes, rolling around and stretching out its legs.  The blood test results revealed like a 1 in 700-something chance of any of the trisomies, so that was very reassuring.

This picture was taken just about 2 weeks ago, around 13 weeks… so I’m already starting to show, but it looks different in certain outfits.  I keep wondering if I look pregnant or just pudgy.

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I have yet to feel any movement that I can definitively call baby movement, but I think with Julia I was closer to 20 weeks before I started feeling what I could definitely call baby movements.  I can’t wait to start feeling those little kicks, hiccups, and even the rolling around in my belly.  I loved that feeling with Julia and can’t wait to feel it again this time around.

I’m not being watched nearly as closely as I was with Julia so I’m not having the every 2-week ultrasounds I got with her… which is good in some ways (the doctors trust that everything is going to be fine and that my body knows what it’s doing) and bad in some ways (I don’t get that frequent check-in with baby to make sure everything’s going well).  At this point though, in the absence of bleeding or heavy cramping the assumption is that baby and I are both doing okay.  Because I don’t get those frequent ultrasounds, I won’t get another peek at baby until the 20-week anatomy scan, which means there are still over 6 weeks before I’ll know whether baby will be a boy or a girl.  With Julia I think we knew fairly certainly by 15 or 16 weeks that she was a girl since I was having so many ultrasounds but this time I’ll have to wait like the general population.

This pregnancy is already speeding by so much more quickly than it did the first time around, and I’m trying to treat myself a little better this time… taking more time for myself, relaxing when I need to, etc. and this Sunday I’m planning on going to my first (of many I hope) prenatal yoga class!  I also scheduled a prenatal massage for myself in a couple weeks and I have two trips coming up that I’m really looking forward to as well… next weekend I’m going up to Ithaca, NY to visit Blair and then at the end of August I’m taking a solo trip to Europe!  I’ll fly into Brussels and spend 4 nights with Isabelle & Benoit there, then I’m taking the train to London and I’ll spend 4 nights there with Julia!  I’m so excited to get some solo adventure time before Julia starts school and before baby #2 rocks our world.  I’ll probably head to San Francisco with Julia for a week to visit my parents sometime in the fall too… either in mid or late October.

Speaking of Julia… she’s been a bit of a firecracker lately!  She’s still the smart, sassy, curious, inquisitive, creative, energetic little girl that she’s always been but she’s also developed some not so pleasant behaviors as a 4-year old.  She’s doing a lot of questioning of authority, a lot of back-talking and a lot of impulsive things (like eating candy out of her Halloween basket without asking and then lying about it).  She has “ghost friends” (aka imaginary friends) who she talks about a lot, and they apparently tell her to do things but she needs to be reminded fairly frequently to only listen to them when they tell her to do good things.  She’s super excited to become a big sister and keeps asking all kinds of questions about the baby–can it hear her? what’s it doing? is it hungry? is it kicking me? is it sleeping? when will it be here?

For now, we’re just trying to enjoy the summer, though it sure has been hot! Tomorrow we are heading to Hershey Park for a second weekend in a row (last weekend we went with Phil, Sabrina, Koren & Gavri and spent most of our time in the water park).

Tomorrow we’ll be there with a big group of Pumpkin Patch moms and kids, all heading here to visit Casey & Zoey, who are driving down today from Rochester, NY.  I can’t wait to meet some more of our amazing village of moms.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been together as a group for nearly 5 years now… and what a special group we are!

4th time’s the charm… I hope!

I’m back! And pregnant again, hoping the 4th time’s the charm, and Julia will finally get the baby sibling she’s been asking for, for months now. Poppyseed 2.0 will hopefully be gracing us with his/her presence on or around January 17, 2018.  I’ll be 10 weeks on Wednesday, so I’ve already made it past the point where I got bad news for both the partial molar pregnancy and the non-tubal ectopic pregnancy (I got bad news at 7 weeks 1 day, and 7 weeks 2 days, respectively).  I’m also just a couple weeks away from the second trimester, which seems insane to me!  Right now, baby is the size of a cherry, and is growing rapidly!

My doctors are following me much more closely this time around.  I’ve already been to either the OB or the MFM 4 times and they’ve confirmed that this pregnancy is implanted in the right spot (so it’s not ectopic) and it is developing normally with a beautiful heartbeat, so it’s not molar or partial molar.  I go back again on Thursday for my first “official” prenatal appointment… they’ll do blood work, write down my history, all that jazz.

As I predicted, I’ve been much more guarded this time around.  I’ve been telling fewer people, have tried not to let myself get too excited or too wrapped up in thinking about how far along I’ll be on my birthday, or at Thanksgiving, or at New Years.  This is the first time I’m posting on my blog since I’ve not wanted to make anything official.  I certainly haven’t posted anything on Facebook yet.  I’ve been trying not to get too attached to the idea that there’s a tiny little baby growing inside me, and have not been doing much differently than I was before (aside from not drinking, and maybe eating a little less sushi).  I didn’t buy a new pregnancy journal until about a week ago, and I just barely started writing in it.  I did buy a few nursing bras last week because my boobs have been hurting at night and it’s more comfortable to sleep in a non-underwire bra than one with an underwire.  Plus I know I’ll need them eventually.

With Julia, I started planning every little aspect of pregnancy and the newborn stages immediately. I started thinking about names right away, about her nursery, and about the type of delivery I wanted.  This time I’m letting a lot of that wait.  Since Julia was a C-section, I’m assuming the same thing will happen again, and don’t really feel like I need to plan anything.  I’m assuming they’ll schedule me for 38 or 39 weeks and if I go into labor early, they’ll take me early.  I know from experience that all that’s really needed in those early days is a pack n’ play (and maybe a swing or bouncy seat), some onesies (and I guess pants and socks and hats since this baby is due in the dead of winter), some diapers and wipes, a carseat and stroller, and a boob.  Lots of boob.  I also know from watching my friends who have had 2 that the second one often seems to fold seamlessly into your life with an older child.  You’re already busy running around keeping your older kid entertained that your baby kind of has to just go with the flow and come along for the ride.  So I hope to not be too focused on getting this kid onto any sort of nap schedule.  Instead, he/she will just come along for the ride, watching Julia, listening to Julia, learning from Julia.

I’ve been feeling fairly normal, aside from some terrible heartburn that has made me throw up a couple times.  I find that I get hungry every 2 hours or so, but once I sit down to eat, I really can’t eat very much.  I haven’t had any crazy cravings yet.  In the last week or so I’ve also been feeling very crampy and as though my belly is stretching in a million directions and is just very sore and uncomfortable.  Luckily I have not been so tired this time around, but I have been waking up every night around 3 AM for no reason, and it sometimes takes a while to fall back to sleep.

For now, that’s all I’ve got.  I’ll have another update after my appointment on Thursday, I’m sure.  And apparently in a few weeks Julia will find out if her little sibling will be a baby brother or a baby sister! Then I’m sure she’ll start coming up with her own list of names.

I apologize in advance if this is TMI…

I do apologize in advance if this is TMI but I promised I would be more open sharing about the difficulties of fertility issues and our pregnancy loss, and coming up: Trying to Conceive again. This week I got my period back. Aside from being physically brutal, the first period after a pregnancy loss is also emotionally bittersweet: it’s sad because it means my body has completely put the pregnancy behind it.  My body has totally moved on and is ready to try again.  My ovaries have figured out that they need to ovulate again and my uterus has shed its lining and is ready to get pregnant again. But it’s also nice to know that things are moving along as they’re supposed to and returning to normal. It’s nice to know that my body no longer has pregnancy hormones, and that I’m physically back to baseline.

We’ve talked about the fact that we still really want to have another baby but that if we were to experience a third pregnancy loss we would probably be emotionally destroyed so we are probably going to give it one more shot and then if it doesn’t work we will consider not trying again.  I’m not ready to jump right back into taking my temperature and charting my ovulation, so for now we will take the “don’t try, don’t prevent” approach and let nature take its course.  If, in a few months from now I’m still not pregnant then we’ll probably do the whole temping and charting thing, but for now I feel like it’s okay to give my body a bit of a break.

We also need to focus on settling into the community here a bit more and finding more fun things to do.  The first few months we were here, we were so distracted by everything… Ken’s new job, my long commute, Julia’s new school, our new house, etc. that we didn’t really have time to build a community for ourselves but now that we have been here a while and Ken is settled into his practice, we have started making friends, getting involved, getting Julia into activities and it’s really starting to feel like home.  Over the weekend I took Julia to SkyZone (a trampoline place that she absolutely loves) and we went out to discover a new (to us) playground which was really awesome and which she loved!

We joined the JCC and I took Julia to a PJ Library event there a couple weeks ago.  We also started doing swimming lessons there a while ago and Julia will be heading there for their summer camp this summer!

Over the weekend Ken took Julia to the JCC for their Daddy-Daughter Date Night!  She had been excited about it for weeks.  Pretty much as soon as she heard that she could go to a dance with her Daddy, she was so excited about it.  She picked out the dress she wanted to wear and I took her to get her nails done the day of the dance.  They looked so adorable!

At the dance, they had a DJ, a photo booth, and the dinner they served was pizza and tater tots, with ice cream for dessert.  It’s a little girls’ dream come true!

After they got home, I asked Julia which was her favorite song she danced to, and she said “the slow one!”  She kept raving about how she “Danced the night away!”  It was pretty adorable, if you ask me!

In addition to finding activities to get involved with, we’ve been spending some nice time at home recently because Ken has been busy studying, so Julia and I have had a few lazy days at home, watching movies, playing with her toys here, etc.

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After all the activity that I like to plan it’s nice to have a few lazy days here and there!  We do of course have a lot of exciting things coming up which will distract us from the sadness we’ve had over the last few weeks, and will hopefully keep our minds off of “trying again”.  Ken’s parents are coming in town this weekend to celebrate his birthday, Ken is heading to Philadelphia next weekend for a board review course, Julia and I are going up to Connecticut the following weekend for Adam & Jenn’s engagement party, and two weeks after that I’m heading to Arizona for my friend Blair’s wedding!  Blair was a bridesmaid in my wedding and I have known her now for 13 years (!) so I am so excited to celebrate her marriage and see her on her wedding day! It will also be nice to get away by myself for a few days.  My parents are meeting me in Arizona and we’ll be doing a few activities together before the wedding.  It will be nice to have some time with them without Ken or Julia around (I love you both but it’ll be nice to have my parents all to myself for a few days!)

Now that this pregnancy loss is fully behind us physically, I suppose my blogging will turn back to regular every day life… and eventually, if I feel comfortable sharing, “trying to conceive.” So for now, over and out.

Today I did a thing…

Today I did a thing I had been dreading doing for a little while.  I threw away the Pregnancy Journal that I had bought, intending to keep track of the milestones in this most recently lost pregnancy.  I waited to buy it until after my 6-week appointment, when I was told that everything looked great.  There was a beautiful embryo, a lovely little heartbeat, and the Doctor told me he didn’t need to see me again for 4 weeks.  Encouraged by that news, I went out and bought a Pregnancy Journal to keep.  I loved keeping a pregnancy journal when I was pregnant with Julia and I wanted to give this pregnancy the same attention to detail and the same love that I gave Julia because I know that Julia loves to ask questions about when she was in my belly, and some day it will be so nice to share my journal with her.

As I threw away the pregnancy journal (which is now sitting in our trashcan with wilted flowers, some scrambled eggs that Julia didn’t eat this morning, and the peel of a clementine), I thought about how I might do things differently if and when I get pregnant again, and how I might think differently.

When I first got pregnant with Julia, I was all smiles.  I was excited, hopeful, optimistic and overjoyed to be pregnant, and after only one month of trying!  Sure, there was a part of me that worried about what could happen since we knew about my unicornuate uterus and the risks that brought to a pregnancy, but because it was my first time getting pregnant, I was mostly just excited to know that everything seemed to be in working order.  I immediately went out and bought a pregnancy journal… we told all our closest family and friends right away, and luckily everything went well.  We never had to un-tell anyone, we didn’t have any complications and at the end of 37 weeks and 6 days, a beautiful and healthy baby girl was born.

The second time I got pregnant, I had that same joy and excitement.  We were in Las Vegas when we found out, and we told the friends we were with.  We also called our parents to let them know the exciting news.  I didn’t buy a pregnancy journal until we got home to Baltimore, but then just a few weeks later we were given the awful news that we had just an empty gestational sac and that it was a partial molar pregnancy.  We had to un-tell our friends and family, we had to throw away the journal, and we had to sit with the disappointment and heartbreak for months as I went in week after week for blood tests and 2 D&Cs.

After one loss, getting pregnant again this most recent time we were both hesitant to get too excited.  We told fewer people this time than we had last time (though I am still of the opinion that I would rather people know so we can be surrounded by love if anything goes wrong than keep it to ourselves and have to suffer in silence).  Ken was better at keeping his excitement in check… he said that he was “cautiously optimistic” and “nervously excited,” but I immediately started making plans in my head… I’d be almost 20 weeks at Blair’s wedding and I’d be showing by then and would need a maternity dress.  I’d be over 30 weeks at Adam and Jenn’s wedding and would surely need a fancy maternity dress for that occasion.  I’d be due in the middle of the summer, but luckily Julia would be in summer camp then, and she’d have a 1-month old baby sibling by the time  school would be starting.  We all know what happened this time…

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So there sits my pregnancy journal in the trash can.

Next time, how will we feel?  How will we act?  Will we do anything differently?  Will we tell fewer people?  Will we be less excited?  Less hopeful?  When will we feel ready to tell people, ready to buy a journal?  Ready to post about it on Facebook?  Will I feel comfortable telling people I’m pregnant before it’s been confirmed on ultrasound?  Before we get past the first trimester?  Before I’m showing?  Who knows… it’s hard to say.  But I do know that having 2 pregnancy losses definitely will affect our feelings the next time.  I don’t know how, and I’m not prepared to make any grand plans about how we’ll do things differently because I know myself, and I know that I like to share exciting news, I like to be surrounded by supportive friends through happy and sad events.  But I don’t think I’ll be overjoyed like I was the first two times I got pregnant.  I don’t think I’ll count weeks on the calendar to figure out how far along I’ll be for various upcoming events.  I think when I see “pregnant” pop up next time, I’ll feel scared, terrified, nervous, and a little bit hopeful.  Will I feel comfortable telling my parents again, and risking breaking their hearts?  Will we want to tell Ken’s brothers and risk having to get those well-meaning but terrible to hear phone calls from family telling us how sorry they are to hear our bad news?  I don’t know.  Only time will tell.

Why we Marched

Dear Julia,

On January 21, 2017, the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States, we woke up at 7 in the morning and drove two hours down to Washington, D.C. to go to the Women’s March on Washington.  Getting to the march was an adventure in and of itself–we parked a mile from the Metro Station, walked in the cold to the Metro with you on my back in the Toddler Tula and all our snacks in a plastic bag on your stroller, we waited in a line that wrapped around the parking lot just to get in the metro, then we got on a train which took over an hour to get us to our stop.  You complained the whole way there that you didn’t want to be in your stroller, but there were no seats for us.  The metro was crowded, hot and stuffy, and you ate about half our snacks on the metro.  Once we got there, it took at least 15 minutes just to get out of the metro station because it was packed full of people.  And then when we got outside, despite my best attempts to meet up with friends of ours who were also in DC for the march, it was impossible to get where you wanted to go because it was so crowded and it was difficult to get in touch with anyone because the cell service was awful.  But once we got there, the experience was incredible: thousands and thousands of people, many with pink pussy hats on, many with poignantly written signs, many chanting various chants about democracy, our rights as women, and our dislike of Donald Trump.  You are 4, so you asked a lot of questions.  The whole way there you asked, “When are we going to be there? How many more minutes?” and I tried to explain to you that we were going to a march with a lot of other women.  I wore my “Nasty Woman” shirt and you picked out a rainbow shirt which was perfect for the occasion.

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The whole day I tried to answer your questions as best I could, but because you’re 4, you didn’t ask all of the questions, and I certainly couldn’t really explain to you fully why we marched so here is my attempt at explaining to you why we marched together as mother and daughter on January 21st.

When I was little (about your age), my mom took me to two marches… I don’t really remember either of them but I’ve heard the stories. One was about pro-choice issues, and one was a Gay Pride parade. Even though I don’t remember them, I’ve always felt like that was the beginning of my starting to understand why it’s important to stand up for what you believe in and stand up for those you care about. So even if you don’t remember our day, I have pictures to show you and stories to tell you, and even now (almost 2 weeks later), I still love hearing you chant, “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!”

When my mom (your Gaggee) was younger, she marched on Washington for women’s rights, the right to choose, equal rights for Blacks and Whites, and other vitally important issues of human and civil rights.  We marched on January 21st because it is sickening and disheartening that we are still fighting for these same issues over 40 years later.  My mom marched in the hopes that I wouldn’t have to fight the same battles she fought and now I marched for you in the hopes that you don’t have to fight these same battles.  These issues should have been settled long ago and we should not be fighting again and again for the same things. (Sure, new issues come up all the time as society changes and technology advances, but we should not still be making arguments about why a woman should be the one to decide whether or not she wants to go on birth control, whether or not she wants to have an abortion.  We should not be arguing anymore about the fact that women should be paid just as much as men for doing the same job they do as well as they do it.  We should not be arguing about the fact that inner-city Black kids deserve the same educational opportunities that suburban White kids have.)

We have kept you shielded as much as possible from the ordeal we just went through, but if Donald Trump and his people have their way, the decision we just had to make would be illegal, or at least significantly more difficult than it was.  Cause call it what you will, I just had an abortion.  We terminated an otherwise viable pregnancy.  We saw and heard the heartbeat.  We saw the embryo with its little “crown” and “rump.”  The little thing inside of me could have grown into a baby.  There is a small possibility that I could have carried that pregnancy to term, but making that choice could have put my life in grave danger, and could have left you without a mother and Daddy without a wife.  Given all the information available to us, I decided that taking that risk was not worth it.  Instead, I chose to continue with the other (the “good”) side of my uterus intact in the hopes that some day we can have a healthy pregnancy on that side and carry a little sibling for you to term. Believe me, the decision we made was not an easy one, but it was one we had to make and one we were free to make on our own, as a family, based on our beliefs, our hopes for the future, and with the advice of my doctors, who gave us all of the information they possessed.  Nobody pressured us to make a decision one way or the other and I never felt judged for making the decision we made.  That is how it should be.  NOBODY should ever be allowed to tell another human being (well… with limited exceptions (I’m a lawyer, what can I say?)) what choices they should make for their body.  Pregnancy is not an easy thing and nobody should ever be forced to go through a pregnancy that they do not want.  I don’t care what the reason is that they don’t want it… NOBODY should be forced to go through a pregnancy that they do not want.  It’s your body, it’s your choice.  The choice that we had to make was made ever so slightly easier because, from a Jewish perspective, there was only one choice to make.  In Judaism, life does not begin until birth and in the case of choosing between the life of an unborn baby or the life of a mother, the life of the mother is always considered first.  But even if I just didn’t want to be pregnant, that should still be my choice to make.  Even if the condom breaks, it’s a woman’s choice to decide what should happen to her body.  If a woman is raped, it’s her choice and her choice alone what to do with her body.  And that is why I marched.  Because YOU should always be allowed to make the decisions that you want for your body.

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a mother.  I wanted you so badly and was overjoyed when I found out I was pregnant with you.  I am so happy I got the little girl I always dreamed of having (a boy would have been cool too, but I really really wanted a little girl!) and you are everything to me.  Yeah, I complain sometimes that you’re stubborn like your daddy, and that you’re defiant and too smart for your own good, but you are such a smart, confident, creative, loving and wonderful little girl and I hope you always know how much we wanted you and how much we love you.  I marched on January 21st for you, for your future, and to show you that you can do anything you put your mind to.  These days you tell us you want to be an Obstetrician when you grow up.  If that remains true, I hope you get there some day.  But I want you to know that whatever you want to do, you can do it.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you’re a girl.  I marched on January 21st because I love you more than you can possibly imagine and I want you to know that you have a world of possibilities open to you always.

Love,

Your Mama

 

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Recovering

Well I’m now a little over a week post-op and am starting to feel normal again.  Mostly I’m so happy to have this whole experience behind us and I’m excited that we can start to move on physically from this pregnancy loss.  Emotionally I’m sure there will be little reminders here and there, but physically this loss is completely behind us now.  The next steps are for me to get my period back and then we’ve been recommended to wait 3 cycles before we start “trying” again.  I’ve already resumed taking my pre-natal vitamins and extra folic acid, so I’m ready as soon as we are given the “all-clear.”  And luckily now that my OB practice here has followed me through this whole ordeal, they know about me and are willing to see me right at 6 weeks when I get pregnant next.

My mom arrived Sunday before my surgery, and it was so nice that she was able to come help.  Julia and I picked her up from the airport and then the three of us went out for a girls dinner.  Monday was a good day for us to show my mom the routine… how to get to school, etc. and Julia also had her first swim class!

Tuesday, Ken and I had to leave bright and early to drive down to Baltimore.  We checked in and then they started all the pre-op things… a urine test, blood pressure, etc. The nurse was very confused when my urine pregnancy test came back positive.  The thing that was most annoying about this whole ordeal was having to explain what was going on to so many people over and over again. The whole reason I was having this surgery was because I was pregnant and the pregnancy implanted in the wrong place, and yet the nurse was confused about why my pregnancy test came back positive. I kept wanting to put a post-it note on my forehead saying “yes, I know I’m pregnant.”

Once I was all done getting checked in, Ken was able to join me and we sat and waited for a while until they wheeled me back for surgery.  All-told the surgery took about an hour and forty-five minutes.  I was in quite a bit of pain when I first woke up, but they gave me some pain meds that took care of it.  I was admitted for the night onto a VIP floor where they had fancy bottled water, no techs (only nurses), free coffee and tea 24-hours a day, and some other nice amenities.  Apparently it was an accident that I was admitted to that floor, but it was a nice accident to have happen to me! That night I had a couple of visitors stop by after Ken went to Pete & Sarah’s house to sleep.  I took the advice I have always been given about abdominal surgery, which is to get up and walk as quickly and as often as possible and I think that really helped my recovery process.

The next morning I was still in quite a bit of pain, but I definitely felt ready to head home and sleep in my own bed! 2-2-20176

We got discharged a little after lunch and Ken drove us back home, where I proceeded to get back in bed!  My co-worker, Nichole sent me the most fuzzy and cozy bathrobe I have ever seen, and it was so nice to know she had been thinking of me! 2-2-20175

I pretty much spent the next 2 days in bed… getting up just to walk around a little and use the bathroom, but within a couple days the pain started to get much better and I felt well enough to get out a little bit.  At this point, a week and 2 days post-op I am feeling mostly back to normal.  I still have some tenderness in my belly around the incisions and I still find myself getting tired if I over-do it, and in the mid-late afternoon, but I’m sure that will subside over the next couple of days.  We have a busy weekend planned, and then on Monday afternoon I’ll go for my 2-week post-op appointment with the surgeon, at which time she will write me a back-to-work note.  I’ll probably go back to work either Tuesday or Wednesday, but probably with limited driving the first couple weeks back.  Spending long periods of time in the car, sitting in one position, is probably not great for the internal healing that needs to happen since it causes additional pain and tenderness.

Overall I would say the experience I had at Hopkins was amazing.  All the nurses, doctors, techs, residents, everyone… was professional, kind, courteous, explained things well, etc. It’s not somewhere I would want to go for routine care but with something as rare and bizarre as what I had going on, I was so grateful for the care they provided.

And at home, it was nice to know my mom was holding down the fort while I rested and got back to normal.  My mom was originally going to go home on Sunday, but she decided to extend her trip a bit and stay until Tuesday so that she could help out with Julia’s second swim class and so she could visit with Uncle Neil & Aunt Karen and with Rachel (all of whom came to visit over the weekend!)  It was nice to visit with them, and I’m glad I had my mom’s help for the first two days of the week with getting Julia to and from school.

Now that my mom went home, we are trying to get back onto some sort of routine.  I’m glad I still have a couple of days to relax a little before I need to get back to work, and I’m looking forward to the fun things we have planned for this weekend.

I’m still anxiously awaiting the time I can finally write my post about “Poppyseed 2.0 being on his/her way” after a healthy pregnancy has been confirmed, but until that time I’ll keep you posted on our every day life and some of the amazing things our 4-year old is doing these days!  Maybe I’ll even be a little more open this time around about our “Trying to Conceive” experience for those who find that sort of information helpful.

 

Surgery Scheduled!

After being given a bit of a run-around on Monday afternoon, I am so glad to finally have nailed down a surgery date.  My surgery is scheduled for January 24th at 1:45 PM.  On Monday afternoon I was first told that there was a possibility my surgery wouldn’t be until the end of March… so then I put my tears to good use and cried on the phone with several individuals until I was told that the surgical coordinator would work with me to get me scheduled as soon as possible.  Finally Tuesday morning I was given a date and time.  It is such a relief to know that we are getting this taken care of soon and that after that we can move on with our lives and try again.  I guess in this case being a squeaky wheel paid off!

Now that my HCG levels have dropped significantly, my body seems to be responding to the decrease and has started doing what it’s supposed to do (aka shedding the endometrium on the good side of my uterus, which is rather unpleasant since it’s had 10+ weeks to build up).  My follow-up appointment with the MFMs yesterday showed that the gestational sac in the horn is starting to decrease in size, and is sort of collapsing in on itself since it’s now somewhat irregularly shaped.  But the embryo is still very clearly there, still the size of an 8-week embryo, which was emotionally difficult to see.  The Ultrasound Tech offered to turn off the monitor, but my own morbid curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see what the doctors were seeing and understand what they were talking about.

I feel so very lucky that my mom is retired and financially well off enough that she is able to come help us out while I have my surgery.  She will arrive next Sunday, the 22nd and will stay with us for a week.  That way she can stay at home with Julia while Ken takes me to Baltimore for the surgery, and then my mom can help get Julia to and from school while I’m home resting and recuperating after my operation, and Ken can still focus on the studying he needs to do for his Boards.  In the evenings while I’m still recovering, one of them can take care of me and one of them can take care of Julia.

Before then though, we still have this weekend to plan… I’ve planned a date night for the two of us for Friday night… we are going to a little Italian restaurant in Harrisburg called Mangia Qui (which I’m excited to try since their menu looks awesome!) and then we are going to go see Hidden Figures.  Saturday Julia has soccer during the day, and I’m hoping we can find a time either Saturday afternoon or Sunday to go back to the Farm Show to check out some of the things we may have missed and maybe to get one more milkshake or possibly some fried mozzarella cubes, or potato donuts!  Monday Julia is off from school for MLK Day so I’ll have to plan something fun for the two of us to do with a day off from school and work.  I’ll see if I can make it a fun adventure-filled day since I won’t be able to have one of those with Julia for a little while after my surgery.

That’s all for now… I’m sure I’ll have another update before my surgery!

Just keeping ourselves busy!

This weekend was a very busy one but was a lot of fun!  We’ve been trying to keep ourselves busy and distracted so we keep our minds off of what is going on.  Friday night we had a family date night in with Shabbat dinner and a movie night (we showed Julia The Princess Bride since she is now willing to sit through non-animated movies)!

Saturday we had Julia’s first indoor Soccer Shots class, which was a lot of fun.  The coach was great–he’s very energetic, keeps the kids engaged, and Julia did pretty well listening and having fun. She’s very competitive (gee, I wonder where she gets that from?) so when the other team scored a goal and her team didn’t, she got very upset, but I tried to remind her that it’s about having fun and doing your best and that’s all that matters.  Hopefully she’ll keep that in mind throughout the season.

After soccer, Julia’s friend Jonah from her old school came over with his Daddy and the four of us went to the Pennsylvania Farm Show!  Luckily the “Farm Show Complex” is only about a 5-minute drive from our house because this event is like the event of the year here in Central Pennsylvania.  The event takes up the entire huge complex, and there are so many neat things to see… on Saturday we only saw about a quarter of what there was to see, so Ken and I went back on Sunday with Julia to see the parts that we missed.  There’s a big food court with unique items such as milkshakes, potato donuts, fried mozzarella cheese cubes, and burgers that are made out of 70% beef and 30% mushrooms.  There’s a big area focused on farming and agriculture, where we got to see some baby pigs, chicks hatching from their eggs, and some 3-month old calves.  There’s also a ton of vendors showing off all kinds of farming equipment and farming techniques.  In a separate area there are arts and crafts demonstrations (Julia got to watch some spinning, weaving, a pottery wheel, etc.), baking and cooking demonstrations, and the traditional county fair-type prizes for best apple pie, best chocolate cake, best quilt, best hand-sewn item, etc.  Overall the farm show was a lot of fun and certainly a uniquely Pennsylvania event, so I’m very glad we went!

Saturday night we also took Julia to a Hershey Bears Hockey game!  She did surprisingly well given that it was a 7 pm game, but when we finally got home she was totally exhausted and a little bit of a mess (she also woke up WAAAAAAAYYY too early Sunday morning, so we ended up needing a 3-hour nap in the morning on Sunday).  We went with another family with their 3 kids (and the friend of one of the kids), so Julia had a lot of fun playing with them while us parents watched the game and chatted.  We had a really nice time and hope to get together with them again soon!

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This morning I heard back from the doctor about my most recent HCG test result.  Luckily my numbers are dropping very quickly.  Last week it was still up to 119,472 but this week it’s down to just 18,000 which is a nice big drop!  Theoretically as my body starts to see it come down closer and closer to 0, the “good” side of my uterus should catch on and should start cramping and bleeding so my body can start cycling again and going back to normal.  I’m still waiting to hear from the surgeon’s coordinator about scheduling my procedure and I’m hoping it can be soon.  When I spoke with them last week it sounded like it could probably happen toward the end of the month.  This week I go back to Hopkins on Wednesday, where they’ll be checking the size of the gestational sac to make sure it’s continuing to get smaller and to see if my body is starting to reabsorb things.  I was talking to a new friend of mine over the weekend, who had 4 pregnancy losses and she totally understood what I meant when I said that our loss last year was much more shocking and emotionally difficult to process, mostly because it was our first one but that this one was less of a shock because it sort of felt like a continuation of our loss from last year, or like a cruel joke from the universe that since we handled our loss last year so well we could of course deal with another one in such quick succession.  I sort of feel like I’m ready to just put it behind us by having the surgery and moving on with our lives.  I don’t really want to wait to start “trying” since I’ve heard your fertility is greatly increased in the few months immediately following a pregnancy loss so it’s possible that I could get pregnant fairly quickly again this time around.  It’s crazy to think that when I get pregnant again, this will be my 4th pregnancy.  Hopefully this next one will be a bit more successful than the last two!

Wait and see… wait and see…

Yesterday was another difficult day for us for this pregnancy loss… we drove down to Hopkins yesterday afternoon for a follow-up with the doctors who performed the procedure on Friday.  They wanted to check the size of the gestational sac and make sure that things were progressing as they expected them to.  We were also expecting to meet with the Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon to get some of our questions answered.  Unfortunately her daughter fell on the playground so she had to go pick her up and we weren’t able to meet with her but we are expecting a call from her sometime today to hopefully answer some of our questions.

The good news is that the Doctor saw exactly what she wanted to see: no signs of fetal cardiac activity (that’s never something I imagined I would be happy about, but I suppose in this case that’s a good thing?) and the size of the gestational sac does not appear to have grown.  The bad news is that now we are in a wait and see pattern… we have to wait and see if my HCG level starts to come down in response to the methotrexate and if the size of the gestational sac starts to decrease.  If my HCG levels don’t start to come down, that could be a sign that I need a second dose of methotrexate.  So for now, I have another blood test scheduled for tomorrow and then I’ll need weekly blood tests for the foreseeable future (feels like we’re watching last year on repeat). I have another follow-up scheduled in 2 weeks for a repeat ultrasound to check on the size of the gestational sac.  I think they’re hoping to start seeing the size going down and to start seeing some of the tissue/fluid being reabsorbed by my body.  Until then I just have to deal with still feeling pregnant (sore boobs, 1st trimester exhaustion, hunger every 2 hours, occasional queasiness/dizziness, and occasional cramping) while knowing that I’m not really pregnant anymore.  It’s a weird state to be in.

I’m hopeful that the surgeon can answer some of our questions today and that her answers are what we want to hear… but for now we will just wait and see.  Wait and see.

My Village & A Thank you to the Pumpkin Patch!

Today I was working from home while my Mommy took Julia out to a science museum.  I wasn’t expecting anyone, but the doorbell rang… a flower delivery man was there with a beautiful pink, purple and orange flower arrangement and a little gift bag.  I had no idea who they were from since I hadn’t received a message from anyone that I should expect anything… but when I opened up the card that came with the flowers, it said it was from The Patch!

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A few tears welled up in my eyes.  I am blown away by the generosity of this amazing village of women who rally to support one another through difficult times.  I shared what I went through last week with them and had no idea they were planning on sending me anything, especially since it’s right around the holidays and people are busy visiting family and friends for Christmas and New Years.  It’s a stressful time of year already but it was so amazing that they rallied to support me through this sadness that Ken and I are going through.  In addition to the flowers, they also sent a beautiful figurine of a woman holding a bouquet of flowers.  It’s beautiful and so meaningful to me that they thought to send these to me.  Last but not least, they sent me a gift card to a local day spa so that I can get a little bit of pampering for myself to get myself through this.  I’m thinking I’ll treat myself to a massage and a facial a little closer to the time I’m having my surgery just to make myself feel better about this whole awful situation.

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I feel so lucky to have found myself in such a wonderful group of moms from all over the US (and Canada!) and I cannot begin to thank them enough.  They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I don’t know how I could do it without my virtual village.

Thank you to the Pumpkin Patch!  With love from me, Ken & Julia!