Saturday, December 29, 2012

23 weeks Italian Style!

We had a very nice Christmas on our own, really enjoyed the peace and quite and doing things at our own pace. You were curious about the menu, so while it was nothing too special I'm happy to share it! On Christmas Eve it is tradition for us at home to have a fish based meal, I cooked tagliatelle with salmon, lemon zest and parsley in cream sauce for lunch which were delicious, I also had prepared tuna steaks marinated in lemon, mint and olive oil, but we ended up having those for dinner instead! I had prepared a delicious mash potato (Italian style, not Irish style, with cream, Parmesan cheese and butter) very rich which went down like a treat even with Oliver who has never been a fan of potatoes. On Christmas day we had home-made lasagne I had pre-prepared and frozen during the weekend, I love making my own ragu sauce (what some may call a Bolognese sauce) as well as the besciamella sauce, with added nutmeg! We have found this local butcher whose mince meat is truly delicious! Then I had made roasted beef in white wine and roast potatoes (or the mash from the previous day!). Finally we had panettone with mascarpone cream I had prepared that morning. We loved it! Oliver opened his presents and though I'm sure didn't quite understand the whole Christmas thing, was really happy.

And now we are in Italy, it's going very very well, Oliver settled in much quicker and is sleeping properly (wakes once, but then sleeps till 9am!), loves his grandparents who are of course doing all they can to make him happy, loves the food (not the same when we go to MIL...) and is eating loads! We went out this morning with my parents for a walk in the city centre and he was really good, walking holding hands or sitting happily in his stroller. His vocabulary is coming along in leaps and bounces, every day he seems to have developed a series of new words overnight! And in both languages! He will be 2 in just 3 days!! I promise a picture galore then!

And today I'm 23 weeks along with Phoenix, woohooo, he's moving plenty, at quite predictable times during the day which is of course nicely reassuring. Imagine I didn't bring the doppler with me, I feel very brave and proud of myself! I bought a couple of things to wear which I badly needed, and also a lovely big handbag I had spotted back in October but had forgotten my credit cards at home! Of course everything already discounted ahead of the official starting date of the sales in January...The weather is sunny and chilly, typical winter in Bologna, with the occasional fog I absolutely adore. Yes, when I'm here I'm thinking how I manage to live in Ireland, I miss the good food so so much, the variety, the taste...I love the shops here, the nice things you can buy at a more than reasonable price, I love the buildings, the archways typical of my city, the buzz etc. But then I know I would hate working in the University here, I would never have what I have career wise and it would be the same for Mike. So we compromise. All going well, I'll be able to spend a lot of time here during my maternity leave, so I'm looking forward to next year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Papaya baby!

22 weeks! Not much to update but I did weigh myself this morning and I'm up 7.5 kg, which I think it's just fine for me and also better than the first time around.

Plenty of movements, even visible from the outside if you are looking at the right time! Phoenix seems to be more active now than Oliver was, or maybe it's my placenta which is high and so less obstructing? In any case, I have not listen to the heartbeat in a while, the fact that it felt to me so much slower than Oliver's was really giving me anxiety and when I talked to a friend of mine who's a midwife, she of course gave out to me a good bit.... she said literally "would you throw away that darn thing? Do you feel movements? Are they becoming stronger? So that's all you need to worry about!" And I listened.

My belly is not particularly big, at least in comparison with other cyber moms, but thankfully the papaya baby is just growing right so this time I won't be worried about the "you look so small!" comments! And you should see my sister...yes I never mentioned this I think, but she is also pregnant, an oops pregnancy totally unplanned and with precautions always taken... yes one of those...what can I tell you, we are the opposite of one another in many aspects, add fertility to the list! She is 28 weeks now and while at the beginning she was really torned about this baby she is now totally in love with the little girls she is carrying. I'll be an aunt! And Oliver will have a cousin about his age (and Phoenix too of course, still finding it a bit difficult to believe we will have two children soon), we will have to do our best to meet up more so that they can get to know each others.

I have finished all my exam marking on friday, really delighted as I had a ton this time around, I can now enjoy the holidays!! I've decided on our Christmas menu, no turkey and ham in our household....I wouldn't even know how to begin to prepare such a meal, just as well I don't particularly like it! We will go for a more Italian tradition, though not my home town as I won't find all I need. But that's ok! Mike's American cousin last summer said that they had invented their own tradition for Christmas and truly love it. So we will give it a go too!

I will check in again I'm sure, but just in case you only happen to stop by and read this post, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2013.

(I can't even begin to imagine how heartbreaking this Christmas is going to be for those families in CT, I couldn't watch any of the news and only read titles on the online papers...we have to enjoy every minute of what we have, hold our loved one close, life can change in a second.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

OB visit yesterday

Yesterday I had my scheduled appointment with Dr. W and the first thing he said when he saw me was "Soooo I hear you were worried about the fluids the last time..." ops...the secretary obviously told him about my phone call! He was very nice about it of course but did state that he would always share any concern even minimal about the pregnancy even if that may cause me anxiety. I know this is the same thing his secretary said, but it was even more reassuring hearing it from the horse's mouth!
He gave me a quick scan, where he showed me the fluids (plenty!) and how everything look just right. I told him that occasionally I feel like a lump on the surface of the uterus, beside my belly button, and I wondered if if was the fibroid they had seen during the surgery for my second ectopic. I don't remember feeling it with Oliver. I wasn't particularly concerned, just curious and in fact there is was, a nice round fibroid, completely external and not problematic at all.
I had two more questions which I didn't dare was about the heart rate (I actually have stopped checking it) and the fact that it was so much slower than Oliver's at the same gest age. I suspected he would have had me committed for excessive paranoia....and the other was about checking my thyroid levels...I had at some point, a good few years ago, a mildly under-acting thyroid, which was just monitored and was fine since. I had it checked about half way through the first pregnancy and it was fine. But who knows how it is now...and of course I read somewhere that there may be a connection between hypothyroidism and low fetal  heart rate! Ah well...I decided  to leave it be. I may do it when I'm going home during the holidays.
My next appointment is in 4 weeks, and he said we'll be talking about VBAC or planned C-section then. I am completely open and trust his opinion without reservation, as I had a previous C-section, he said induction is not an option so, should I be overdue or in need of an earlier delivery it'll have to be a C-section, but otherwise we can see about a vaginal delivery! It sounds still so far away, I'm not really thinking about it yet.

Another good news I got yesterday is that my new car will arrive in Ireland on the 6th of January! Wohooo! Can't wait now! And we have ordered the big boy(s) bedroom which will arrive at the end of we have to repaint and try to sell our two double-futon beds that are currently there. Lots to do and lots of excitement!
I'll post a few pics of Oliver in the next few days, he doesn't really have the concept of Christmas but he loves the Christmas trees...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

21 weeks (belly pic)

Not much to update since wednesday, so I'm just posting an update on the belly growth!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Phoenix Anatomy Scan

All looks good thank God! None of my fears came true thankfully, the heart has 4 nice chambers and the umbilical cord is not wrapped anywhere! Frontal placenta but high up, looks good. And fluids!! Perfect fluids!! I don't know what I saw the last time but this time there were nice deep pockets and Phoenix's stomach was full and visible, so were the kidneys and the brains! He measures 20w1d instead than 20w4d but this has been his norm all along so I'm delighted with this.No major abnormalities visible which is a relief, I mean, I know there are plenty of conditions which may jut no show up, but I take the good news today. Phoenix is breech so the pics of the profile apparently don't come out good (placenta is shading it) but we did get a few of hands and feet! He was moving around a lot and I could only feel maybe one in ten movements, mostly down low where the feet are.
The tech asked us if we wanted to know the gender and we said no, but that if it was visible we would not have turned away. Neither myself or Mike could make anything out, with Oliver I remember the scan to be very clear, while this one was not as sharply defined so half the time I wasn't actually sure what I was looking at! We will see the OB next wednesday so I look forward to talking to him about the results.

We treated ourselves with a nice meal in town and I feel very happy, Christmas shopping here we come!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

20 down 20 (more or less) to go!

I wanted to thank you for the kind words on my last post, funnily since I wrote it I had a couple of days with plenty of movements (and quite strong I have to say) which made me feel great. Then today not so much. So back into uneasiness (if not anxiety). But today is a good milestone and I took the post I wrote at the same time when i was pregnant with Oliver as it is a nice way to record feelings etc about the pregnancy. So here it goes!

How Far Along: 20 weeks
Total Weight Gain: happy to say I'm up 6kg while with Oliver I was up a whopping 11kg!
Maternity Clothes: yes, can't really wear anything else and my wardrobe is quite limited! (unchanged! as per the original post)
Symptoms: I feel well, I'm not swollen which is a big plus, but I find going up the stairs (with or without holding Oliver) is tiring. My nose is a bit blocked but apparently I am not snoring like the first time around. Occasional headaches. Boobs are one size up (DD) and had to buy new bras. Sex drive is GOOD!
Stretch marks: I have not noticed any new ones!
Sleep: I’m sleeping ok, getting up once or twice to pee and occasionally I may have to get up if Oliver cries but thankfully this is rarer and rarer. Occasionally I have to have a very early night, like I can be in bed by 9pm and it feels great.
Best Moment of the Week: Mike feeling Phoenix moving. We are definitely ahead on this milestone this time around.
Movement: I feel movements every day now, but the frequency can be very very different. I think it's definitely more defined than at the same stage with Oliver, but for the moment afternoon and evenings are the most active times while the morning can be totally quiet.
Food cravings: not really anything in particular, but definitely sweet things of all sorts, preferably chocolate based. (unchanged! as per the original post)

Gender: Don't know! We think we may go for a surprise! Feeling strongly it's another boy!
What I Miss: Nothing at all, I wouldn't trade this for anything.
What I'm Looking Forward To: Honestly? Having Phoenix here with us. Everything in between is a mix of anxiety and what ifs. (unchanged but for the name! as per the original post)
Weekly Wisdom: Let go of things I cannot control.
Milestones: Half way through the pregnancy! Unbelievable, this time around it absolutely flew by.
Emotions: doing well I think, but I am less patient though I'm trying really hard not to be. If I feel anxious about the pregnancy I listen to Phonix heartbeat which is averaging in the mid 130 (Oliver was 150 at this stage).Upcoming Appointments: Anatomy scan on wednesday, please please please let it all look good.

That's it for now, will post a new belly pic to show the growth since week 15!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Back in anxiety lane...

Ah yes...I was doing so well.

All through the first trimester I was totally zen, should I have lost Phoenix it would have been likely a chromosomal issue and I was totally fine with that. Also having Oliver already gave me a very different perspective and I was very much relaxed. You may remember I bled/spotted every week for about 14 weeks, man that's a long time. Yet I wasn't particularly freaking out about it, my attitude was mostly "if it's over I just want to know" followed by "I'm glad all is well". Time just flew by this time, and I remember how looooong every day was with Oliver's pregnancy. I have enjoyed being pregnant so far, I'm proudly patting myself on the back for this, I had promised I would not ruin another pregnancy should I have been so lucky to get pregnant again.

So what has changed? Well there was that poor woman's case I talked about a few posts back. She very likely had an incompetent cervix and that was caused the unavoidable loss of her pregnancy at 17 weeks (and the honorific loss of her own life too). While that made me worrying about the what if that was me, it was more due to the fact that I would not want to lose my life in similar circumstances! I wasn't really worried I could have an incompetent cervix. Sure I didn't dilate at all at 37 weeks after two rounds of inductions, my cervix likes to be shut closed. Ok, I just read it's possible to have an IC for the first time during your second pregnancy, but it's much more unlikely in my case (no vaginal delivery, singleton pregnancy). So I ticked this one off the list of possible-tragedies-out-of-my-control. But as I reach 20 weeks and my anatomy scan is one week away, I can't help feeling yet again anxious. You know it's great when you feel movements, it's so so reassuring, but I didn't document properly how it was at the very beginning with Oliver's movements and so I'm freaking out Phoenix is not moving much. Then I reassure myself as every day the few movements become actually stronger and maybe (just maybe) a bit more frequent, last night Mike felt a kick (or whatever) with his hand! So that must be a good sign that the baby is growing well, right? I'm not even 20 weeks yet, still plenty of room, right? I do tell myself reassuring things all the time, which end with "and in any case, there is NOTHING I could do, should there be something wrong at this stage". That works for a bit. This is associated with the fact that Phoenix heartbeat is definitely slower than Oliver's was. I know I know I know it is totally within normal ranges, I said it myself in the last post. I also find the HB always in the same spot, maybe he just like staying there...Yet I think all these things make me think there is something wrong...I'm going to spell it out what I think it's wrong, maybe doing this will have some sort of therapeutic effect. I for some reason imagine Phoenix wrapped up in the umbilical wrapped up he can't move much and maybe his blood-flow is reduced...I fear at next week scan we'll be told he has not grown much, that the cord will eventually tight too much and he will die. Or that he had some sort of a cardiac defect. There. I said it. Somehow now the thought (fear) of loosing this baby is as terrible as if it was the first one. I tell myself again this can in fact happen and I can't do anything about it, I am still blessed to have Oliver, and lucky enough to have 4 more penguins in the freezer. And I am ashamed I'm even thinking this, what's the point in worrying when there's no reason to do so? It's ridiculous and just plain stupid. I know. I envy the pregnant teenagers, who have no doubt pregnancy equals baby. Fears is just not part of their experience. Of course I'm also torturing myself reading tragic stories on the web. I wish there was an electric shock through the keyboard any time I type something in google tragedy-related. Maybe that would work.
I will see my psychologist when I'm Italy after Christmas, it is wrong feeling so anxious, I can't be possibly worrying excessively for just about everything, some action must be taken.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Phoenix 19 weeks, Oliver 23 months!

Can you believe I'm nearly half way through this pregnancy? How did it happen? Of course we sadly know plenty can still happen and that till I'll have the little one with me I will never truly relax. Some milestones are getting nearer though, first there is the anatomy scan in 12 days, hopefully that will bring good news. Then viability is only 5 weeks away, though I would not wish to anyone such prematurity of course, but at least it would be a little less scary if something has to be done then for some reason. I was reading through the posts of Oliver's pregnancy and I realised that with him, from about 16-17 weeks I was suffering with significant fluid retention (I was wearing those sexy stockings...). This is thankfully not happening this time and it may be the reason why my weight is also so much more under control. I am up 5kg since the beginning and gaining it regularly in a way makes me feel little Phoenix is growing too. I had mentioned I started feeling movements a while back, a couple of days ago I had plenty of gentle taps throughout the day which again made me really happy and thinking everything is as it should be. Then yesterday I felt almost nothing at all!! Panic. Of course I read everywhere that the baby is still small and may have just turned towards the back and very very normal. Doppler is a life saver. Then I felt a few taps in the afternoon/evening and today I have already felt him. I have no memory of this with Oliver, but I certainly started feeling him too around the same time. On one occasion I felt Pheonix's movement with my hand too! I'm hoping movements will be more regular in the coming days. The heartbeat is on average slower than Oliver's was, Oliver use to be between 140-150 while Phoenix is more between 130-140 (occasionally high 120s), anyway, still well within normal range.

And today my little boy is 23 months old!! One month till his second birthday! He's such a curious child and it feels like every day he has about 5 more words between the two languages! He's always very sweet and loves to give kisses and hugs, but above all he likes when me and Mike kiss. He still sleeps well through the night but in the last week or so he finds it very difficult to fall asleep...he would be in bed for about 8.30 but often we hear him playing the music box for about an hour...then he calls me and when I go up sometimes he wants some water, sometimes a kiss on the head, sometimes the soothing gel for teething...and then we don't hear from him till we pick him up in the morning (could be 9.30 at the weekend!!).

So all is well in our household, no progress on the big boy bedroom, getting a bit frustrated about it to be honest!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

4 months

Baby is due in exactly 5 months, which makes me 4 month pregnant today! I feel well, movements are still only a perception (sometimes I wonder if they are real at all) and the doppler is still a great reassurance little Phoenix's heart is ticking along. He's generally between 134 and 140 (counted by myself) so hopefully all is well. I check every couple of days for just one minute or so, I love hearing all the movements too! Belly is growing, will have to take another pic soon, but you know what's growing even more at an alarming pace? My boobs!! Had to go and get new bras on saturday, the D cup I was happily wearing till the end of Oliver's pregnancy has become a DD and the lady helping me said she would not be surprised if I'll have to get a E see, I love my boobs now, won't mind if they get to an E, but you know the way they then deflate horribly after pregnancy and breast feeding...there's no coming back from there! But still, it's all so so worth it.
We are nearing a decision on the beds for the second bedroom where Oliver will be transitioned ahead of Pheonix arrival. Still a few details to iron out but it's probably going to be an L-shape bunk bed with nice steps on the side!

And this is finally the last week of the teaching term, really looking forward to the end of the semester...three more days...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

17w2d OB appointment

It was actually yesterday, but I was so so tired when I got home I went to bed at 8.30!
The visit went well, my blood tests came back just fine, my urine is perfect and so is my blood pressure, I put on 2kg on his scale since the first visit 5 weeks before. I think it's good. I had heard Phoenix's heartbeat the night before so I was quite confident the baby would still be alive, but you know...the list of worries is endless, so I was still quite nervous.
And the scan was nice, Phoenix is so much bigger, we don't have measures but he really looked much more baby like, proportioned and all. Good HB also at 133bpm which is very similar to what i get at home by counting and looking at a clock... I am now certain that what I thought was movements is in fact movements. They are ever so light and completely occasional, I may feel them twice a day, just a light tap, but it so happened that I felt one while I was being scanned and so I saw  it on the screen just a second after I felt it (there is a slight delay in the ultrasound image with respect to realtime). We saw the baby moving, opening and closing his mouth, moving the legs and arms etc, all you want to see. I am really convinced he's a boy. But one thing I saw immediately was that it looked like the baby was already filling up all the space available...or there didn't seem to be much fluid in there. And for some weird reason I DIDN'T ASK. Now, Mike did say something like "It looks very crowded in there" to which the Dr. W answered "And yet you won't believe how much they can still stretch and grow". I asked about the placenta which was perfectly healthy. He said everything looked just fine, we got a couple of pics and we were on our way. We are already booked in for the high level scan at 20 weeks on the 12th of December, and I'm going back to the OB a week later.

And then I went home and started worrying about the little fluids and cursing myself for not having asked. How did I not asked is beyond me...I saw it, I immediately thought of it and worried and yet...maybe I was focussing more to see if everything in the baby looked normal to me that I just didn't ask...
So after a night of tossing and turning, googling all the googleable (never a good idea), this morning I called the secretary to see if she could pass on to the doctor my concern...I felt really stupid of course as I was just there, but she was lovely. She said that Dr. W is a very upfront person, if he had any concern at all he would have shared it with us, he would have brought me straight in for a higher level scan. If he said everything looked normal, he definitely meant it. She added "He is a very experienced ultrasound operator" which I of course knew. So I now feel reassured, but I decided to definitely monitor my water intake (I tend to get lazy...) and want to make my 2 L a day at least. Can't do any harm anyway, even if everything is just fine. And here's little Phoenix!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Irish laws

I don't know if it was reported in your Country, but there has been a tragic episode here in Ireland recently. A woman, 17 weeks pregnant, is admitted to hospital with contractions. She is found fully dilated and waters leaking. She is told she is going to lose the baby as he's too small.
The miscarriage is not happening fast, she is in great pain and her health conditions quickly worsen. She repeatedly asks for termination as this is horrendous. This is denied to her as in Ireland abortion is illegal and the foetus still had a heartbeat. Eventually the baby dies, she is rushed to theatre, but never recovers. An infection has set in and she dies three days later.

I will be 17 weeks tomorrow and this has shaken me down to the core.

For the last 20 years the Government has avoided legislation in this field. It is clear, legally, that if the life of the mother is in serious danger, termination can be performed. Take ectopic pregnancies for example. I know well I have been treated and treated effectively. But it's the term "serious" which is completely subjective.

Late miscarriages do happen, they are not too frequent thankfully, but they do happen. Not always the life of the mother is at risk obviously, but why why why doctors were not allowed to intervene to put an end to that poor woman's misery...there is no doubt that an earlier intervention would have saved her life. She was well upon admission, had no fever and no sign of infection. She was left 3 days suffering, uterus open and miscarriage just not happening. Apparently she was on antibiotics, but either they weren't strong enough or the infection spread too quickly once set in.

Nobody here is saying the doctors left her to die, I personally think that the judgement call was a very difficult one, it's not like they can foresee an infection, but can you imagine how horrific it is to be left "doing it on your own" when it's certain there is no hope for the baby? I mean, it's not like she was 23 weeks along and they were hoping she would make it to viability. 17 weeks people. 17. Fully dilated and with contractions. She wasn't treated to stop contractions, doctors knew there was no hope.

She was an Indian woman, a dentist, who travelled to Ireland with her husband (an engineer) as they thought it was a great place to have a family. I suspect the fact they were both educate made even more the news, though this is terrible to say.

I'm of course easily impressionable, now I think this can happen to me, I would just have to hope it doesn't and that if it does please God the doctors will be wiser.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

16w1d and other updates

All is well (I think) with Phoenix. I can't tell you how much I love being able to check for HB anytime I get a bit anxious. One week till the next appointment...will he have grown? Will everything be just fine? I truly hope so.

As for other updates, my IPhone5 arrived last week, I was so happy and exited about the new toy...and then Mike dropped it on the tiled floor of the kitchen...I was so tired and upset I couldn't speak. One corner is chipped. Bloody hell...I know it happens, but still...Anyway, Mike decided to take it and to buy me a new one. I have to wait at least three weeks for the next delivery. Ah well.

Oliver is doing very well, this autumn so far he's been healthy and happy, no strange bug going around the creche apparently. Loves his food and sleep, we did't have any other issue since the last time I talked about it, which is great. Yesterday we went shopping for a "big-boy bedroom", no much rush, but when Phoenix arrives we will need the nursery and so we are deciding what to put in our second bedroom which will suit two children. Oliver and Phoenix will share the room (yes, even if Phoenix is a girl) at least for a few years. I am so happy as I found a place in Dublin that sells Italian furniture at a reasonable price! We have not made a final decision by any means, but we think we are going to go for L-shaped bunk beds, they will maximise the space available and they look really modern too. I will post pics once we have it sorted. Next weekend it will be about picking the curtains for the room and possibly deciding on the painting of the walls. We have to get rid of what we have there at the moment so I'll put up for sale a big cat tree that Carlito never uses and a very nice organic cotton futon. Worst case, I'm sure our cleaning lady will have friends happy to take them away if we can't sell them. And I love renewing things around, I love not to have to rush about it too. Finally my new car should be arriving soon...we ordered it before the summer so it wasn't quick by any means! Latest I heard is that it should be delivered by the end of the month, which means I won't register it till January (no point in ageing the car one year for a month). Which means I have to try and sell my car too! woohooo! That will be a challenge as it's a left-hand-drive and here we drive on the left with right-hand-drive cars...but who knows, I'll give it a go anyway.
Love to all.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

15 weeks pregnancy update

Nothing much to report in this past week on the pregnancy front. I think I am a little less tired which is nice. I occasionally listen to Phoenix's heartbeat which is very reassuring, but I leave to counting to once a week. So today I said, I may as well do a full update, weight, HB frequency and belly pic!

I'm up in weight about 4 kg which is a significant improvement with respect to the previous experience where by this time I was up 6.5 Kg. Of course one part of me thinks "is there something wrong??" but let me tell you, it's a very very small part of me! I also started a bit heavier than the last pregnancy, so I can call it even.
Then today finding the HB was a challenge. It really took ages and I think whichever way Phoenix was turned I had to filter out his HB from my whooosh whooosh whooosh. Eventually I could hear it very clearly and it clocked in at 140bpm, nice and bang on average!

I still crave sweet things, and occasionally I can go for crisps (very rarely I give in though!). We have started telling people, sort of when the occasion comes up and not really calling anyone up on purpose. My colleagues were super delighted for me, still I have to tell two of them I really want to know from me, then the others can find out as it becomes more obvious.

No movements yet, though at time I think I am feeling something but it could be just a bubble.

And here it is, my belly pic! Looks quite comparable to the same at 15 weeks with Oliver, I seem to really starting to show around 17 weeks. For now, it looks like a bloated stomach!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Second trimester

Today, according to my phone app, I'm starting the second trimester! No more bleeding since last tuesday and I have listened a couple of times to Phoenix heartbeat so all seems good.
This is a long weekend here (monday is holiday), we bought Oliver a winter coat (it's freezing!) and we'll be going to a Halloween party at some friends' tomorrow. We'll also start sharing the news with friends and I think I'm starting to show a bit (still no belly pic taken, but it'll happen soon).

Clock is going back tonight which means from tomorrow it'll be dark really soon here and it'll be time for hot chocolate...yummy! I love this time of the year, in fact I think I love all seasons, but Autumn is just different. The red leaves, the darkness, the chill in the air and the occasional is magic!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The reason why

I had a very long day yesterday, we had an event in college which I had to attend and I was on my feet for hours. I went to the toilet and had a gush of blood. Oh for God's sake... couldn't leave, had to wait for about an hour till the event was over. I went to the toilet another couple of times and no more blood. 
When I finally got home at about 9pm I had made up my mind that I was going to get checked out. This was no longer spotting. Of course I also used the doppler to see if Phoenix was still with us and thankfully I found very quickly a nice HB. Mike called me a taxi and off I went. I suppose this is one of those situations when not having any support is a bit of a problem, but we managed. I got to the hospital just after 10, the taxi driver was a lovely man with 5 children of his own and was very reassuring. I checked in and was told it was going to be about an hour as there were a few people ahead of me. Ah well, that's no biggie (read: I know the baby is alive!). But I was actually seen at about 1.30 am!! The doctor on the floor was called twice for two emergency c-sections...anyway, she was lovely, gave a scan which showed a healthy sleeping Phoenix with a perfect HB and nothing wrong at all, no SCH, no bleeding, nice placenta etc. She then suggested to have a look at the cervix to see if there was something obvious (my paranoia was of course that all the coughing had shortened the cervix, causing the bleeding), and there was!! It is called ectropion and it's a common occurrence in pregnancy. Practically a bit of the uterine lining start covering the cervical canal and appears through the cervix. This easily bleeds. Totally benign and nothing to worry about. I want to thank my ciber friend Gen who kept me company via Whatsapp during the wait and got me thinking I also wanted to eat fish! I got home and in bed at 3.45 am. Needless to say when the alarm went off before 7 I thought I had just closed my today and tomorrow I'm taking it easy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

13w2d, awful cough and welcome back spotting (not!)

It must be over two weeks I have this awful cough. It doesn't bother me at night at all, and mostly not during the day, but I get these fits mid morning which are terrible! It's chesty and scratchy and unmaskable. I obviously forgot to tell the OB last monday, so I never took anything. But last tuesday I decided to the to a chemist which was handy (not my usual one) and the guy says that a particular syrup which I had at home was suitable for pregnancy. So off I went and since tuesday I started taking this med once a day (not 3). Till on friday I decided to consult Dr. Google to see if it was true. It wasn't. Panic. Ok, I started saying to myself that I didn't take that much after all and that I'll just kill that pharmacist who obviously doesn't know his job. On saturday I called my chemist and asked her opinion. She would not have recommended it. So I went back to the moron-chemist and after a brief intro to make sure he remembered me from last tuesday, I asked him if he was sure about the safety of carbocisteine (the active molecule in the drug) in pregnancy, because my doctor (Google) told me to stop it immediately. he was adamant it was safe, but of course to stop it if I was told so, he even checked a book which apparently confirmed his opinion. Anyway, I can't undo what I have done and just have to hope for the best. Since last thursday we have been able to pick up the HB on the home doppler, and it was still there on saturday which was quite reassuring.
I don't know if it's the cough or what by my spotting is back. He comes visiting about once a week since last week, not much at all, mostly brown streaks in between the usual mucus or just a brown tinge. I'm starting thinking it's my cervix and that's it. Annoying though, VERY annoying. Mostly because yo don't know if it's going to stay like that or become a full flow at some point. I just have to hope for the best.

In other news, I have been awarded among other 30 bloggers for a fertility advice award! Apparently I'm an authority in the field!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The OB meets Phoenix

I had the most reassuring visit with the OB today. Dr. Wonderful was as lovely as I remembered. We had the usual chit chat on my history but he had all my files on the previous pregnancy and from the hospital so it was quick. Then I showed him our NT results, he thought they were actually quite good. He said the major factor in the risk calculation is still given by my age (more than the NT measurements and the bloods), so it would have been impossible to have stats as good as with Oliver. He thinks that for my age our numbers are good but still wrote down the risk and made a note for the 20 weeks scan. I mentioned before he is a experienced ultrasound operator, he scanned a cyber friend of mine from a local board to rule out her foetus for retinoblastoma, this is something so difficult to do in utero, actually people travel from afar to have his opinion. He said T13 can definitely be diagnosed by ultrasound, T18 is very likely to have markers also (even though not always) and T21 occasionally can be diagnosed in utero but not so often. I asked him if he would recommend an amnio. He said he personally wouldn't but it's our decision. In his opinion our numbers are good and much better than the chance of miscarriage the amnio has. Is it worth it? So I trust him and we'll wait and see. I mentioned my concerns about the low PAPP-A, once again he was so knowledgeable I felt really reassured. Again he made a note of it for closer monitoring on baby's growth, but said the association between low PAPP-A and issues is quite minimal, maybe a 5% of pregnancy with low PAPP-A has then some problems but most of the pregnancies are absolutely fine. Then he gave me a quick scan and Phoenix looked bigger and we listen briefly to the HB which sounded strong and regular. Dr. W commented also on how thin the nuchal fold looked and how everything looked perfectly normal and healthy. I also got my bloods done already, so the results will be there for the next time.
My next apt is in 5 weeks, I have re-read my blog posts on how poorly I coped with the waiting the last time, somehow I hope this time I'll be better! I also already have the doppler at home so in a week or so I'll give it a go to reassure myself!
I have not said anything in work yet, may just wait another couple of weeks to be out of the first trimester before sharing. Also, I have not taken one single belly shot yet...not good! Poor Phoenix, already been treated differently!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

NT scan and other updates

I have to say much to my surprise, this pregnancy seems to be flying. Which is a good thing in my eyes.
So Oliver and I came back late on Sunday night, very very tired (both of us) and thankfully we both had a good night sleep. Sleeping at my parents' is still a challenge. A huge one. I think on saturday night Oliver woke up at 4.15 and it was up and down till about 5.30. Down for a bit till 8.00 when he was up for the day. Thankfully mom came to pick him up and I rested a bit longer. I have no idea what the problem is, he HATED going to bed, cried his eyes out the minute we entered the bedroom, I think it's because it's much bigger than his and it was scary. Oh I don't know. But at least my parents never once commented on the crying. It was a good break though not particularly relaxing. Since we are back, we had no issues.

And today it was the time for our NT scan. The scan itself went great, Phoenix was measuring right on track (11w4d), happily moving and with a strong HB of 167 wohoo! NT at 1.15 mm and lovely nasal bone too. But my bloods weren't as good, plus we had the complication that we had retrieval when I was still 36 (ok, we said to the tech 37 as I would have been 37 a couple of weeks later). Anyway, my stats with Oliver were fabulous (T21 1:4646, T18/13 1:8406) so it's hard not to compare, but this time I have 1:1076 chance for T21 and, a bit more concerning, a 1:452 chance of T13/18. What screwed the stats is my PAPP-A value which is a bit low at 0.37 MoM. I definitely believe more a good scan than the bloods but of course I started reading on low PAPP-A and the main concern seems to be the possibility that the placenta will have some issues later on in the pregnancy. Thankfully my OB, which I will see on monday, is the top expert in sonography, I will talk to him about these results and see what he thinks. I had issues with Oliver too at the end of the pregnancy (emergency C-section at 36w6d after scan showed he had not grown for 3 weeks) thought the pathology results on the placenta didn't show much a part from some inflammation. I could restart the cardio-aspirin which I had stopped when I was diagnosed with SCH (now totally gone) to help blood flow. We'll see. But I'm not particularly concerned about the stats. Unless the OB recommends otherwise we won't be doing CVS or amnio (also in Ireland termination is illegal).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Me, Oliver and Phoenix in Italy

We arrived today, no particular problems on the flight, we were lucky to have three seats for ourselves which gave Oliver a bit more room to move around.
Almost as soon as I met my parents at the airport they said their OB friend was happy to scan me within the hour. So mam and I went to the clinic and we were relieved to see a much bigger (and moving!) Phoenix which is now measuring only 2 days behind at 10w1d (I'm 10w3d)!! I am really happy and now feel much more positive. No sign of SCH which is nice too. We could see the arms and legs, the brains, the heartbeat (we didn't measure it but he said it looked perfect) and it was incredible how he was moving around. I have to remember to update this post with a pic as soon as I get home.

The weather here is great, quite warn for us coming from Ireland, and really enjoying it. Oliver seems to have settled very quickly, he didn't sleep on the plain so was quite tired but went with nonno to the park and had lots of fun at the playground while we were at the clinic and then had a nap on the way home. He's in bed now and everything is quiet, hopefully we'll have a good night sleep. Missing Mike quite a bit already, I'm sure time will fly though, I am quite busy between meeting with colleagues tomorrow and going to Milan for a talk on thursday. Better get some rest myself!

Friday, September 28, 2012

On edge

It's been a week since the last bleed as so far nothing. I'm kind of expecting it you know. but maybe the SCH is really gone so everything may just have settled fine.
Also I have started reducing my steroids intake, so for the whole week I've been down to 20mg rather than 25. I still have the moon-face. Did I mention that of course we had pics taken for the college website just a few days ago? I look like a monster. Seriously. Professionally taken pics. Nothing I can do about it. Of course I had forgotten about it till I got a reminder from the secretary the day the photographer was coming. I didn't have make up on (I never do, but I would have made the effort to try and look a bit more presentable), my hair looks like they badly need some colouring and restyle and I wasn't even dressed properly. But ah well, I am just hoping that maybe if I pay for it myself I can get another one taken when I'm in better shape...

Tomorrow I'll be 10 weeks. Incredibly for me these past couple of weeks have flown by. Tonight would be the last PIO shot, but as I have only three more vials left in the box I thought I'd finish them on Sunday instead. As of tomorrow I'll drop the steroids to 15mg for the whole week. I tried to read when is it that people with only mild borderline ANA values are stopping them and I found anything between 8 weeks and 20 and it's never really clear how high the dose has to be either. Of course in my case I know it worked to be on 25mg for 11 weeks with Oliver and tapering down to nothing by week 12, but if I have to say I believe I really need them at all it would be a stretch. Same as the intralipid. I didn't do it at all with Oliver and there was no issue whatsoever. In any case, 15mg of pred is still what some clinics recommend as standard dose so I'm covered and the critical phase is just after implantation anyway. No matter what, that phase I have passed and Phoenix hopefully is still growing happily.

Next week I'm going to Italy for 5 days, I'll bring Oliver with me while Mike will stay behind, and we'll stay at my parents. I haven't seen them since Easter but everything is fine between us now. Let's see how this stay goes. I should be able to squeeze in a scan while there, with my dad's OB friend, and then, if all goes well, when I'm back I'll book the NT scan. Next time we'll go to Italy will be after Christmas, this year we will spend Christmas in Ireland and I will cook our first Christmas meal (no turkey and ham!!) for just the three of us. I am really looking forward to start building our own tradition!

Oliver is great, has a cough which makes him sleep poorly but we never have to get up at night (we hear him coughing through the monitor) and has started putting two words together! He loves to hug both of us at the same time while we give him kisses, his face is just glowing, and we do that every day. Yesterday he also had his first bruised knee! I should take a picture of it for future memories. I was thinking that while it was so much easier to handle him when he was smaller, now he so much more fun and I can't wait for him to talk properly!

And you know, yesterday was Mike's 40th birthday! Of course I remembered and we had a nice dinner with cake and all, you can't hold a grudge for too long!

Friday, September 21, 2012

8w6d another scan

I had no spotting or bleeding since Sunday. I felt so confident I stopped wearing a pad. And then I woke up this morning to another gush of blood. For the love of God, can this stop? Or can I have a definite sign that the pregnancy is over and I can move on? Of course it's friday, what do I do? Shall I stay put till tuesday when I have my scheduled appointment? This would be 4 more days of drugs and my face already looks like a full moon... So I called the clinic and went in. Fav Doc is on annual leave this week but another lovely nurse scanned me. I told her about the bleeding, about the SCH, about the slow growth and slow heartbeat. I told her I was not expecting to see a heartbeat today, in fact a part from the tiredness I don't think I have many other symptoms (big boobs aside, but sure with the hormones....a tree would have grown boobs by now). She said let's have a look, it was a frozen embryo I've seen all sorts of slow growth and healthy babies at the end. Ok.
Sure enough Phoenix was much bigger, and with a heartbeat. Not only that, the SCH is much smaller (she thought it could have bled out this morning) and definitely not threatening. I told her I stopped the aspirin but was still on clexane and that I wasn't sure it was ok with the SCH. She said great I stopped the aspirin and the dose of clexane I'm on is low and to keep that up. Then she started taking measures, Phoenix is catching up in growth measuring now 8w2d she said perfectly within range (it was 7w1d last saturday so it's a big growth) and the heartbeat is up to 157. She was so kind she showed me the amniotic sac which is already formed, the umbilical cord, the placenta and the yolk sac being pushed away as you would expect between 8 and 9 weeks of pregnancy. She showed me the brain vesicle which looks normal.  This looks like a very normal pregnancy to her, she even gave me pics! Through the tears I said to her "I better start loving this baby so" And she said "You better!". She also said there's no need to have a scan every week, but if I feel anxious to go in. I told her that strangely I don't feel anxious but for some reason I feel quite negative. I actually thought I was developing an infection of some kind, I don't feel very well overall, I have shivers, headache for the last two days and my tummy is acting up too. In my head these were all signs of a miscarriage. But this is not the case. Stop thinking this is gong to end any minute now. Start believing.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy birthday to me!

Today I'm turning 38! Outpouring of love and good wishes from family and friends...oh wait...what about my husband? He FORGOT! For the second year in a row.... I didn't even get mad, bought myself a cake, candles, pizza for dinner and just plain celebrated! I gave Mike all day, but nope...totally forgot! Anyway, he enjoyed the pizza and cake.

And no more bleeding/spotting, so even if it's just today I'm delighted I got a break for my birthday.

One other great thing today. As part of our Ectopic Pregnancy Charity and given the fact I'm a college lecturer, I had contacted the coordinator of the midwifery course and offered to give a couple of lectures on the topic, mainly discussing my experience and the emotional aspect. They were thrilled and we arranged for today. The class was fantastic, they are final year students, they were so so interested and learnt a lot. You see, EP are of course treated in their lecture course, but very briefly and as part of early pregnancy complications (so about 15 mins in total). Students get the textbook signs and symptoms of EP which we know all to well don't always apply, so for them today was a real eye-opening experience. I felt so good. And you know, it's 3 years almost to the day since I resolved my last ectopic pregnancy. Another reason to celebrate.

Continued thanks for your support and love, you are amazing.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bright red

Bright red bleeding this morning. Not much. No cramping. Seems stopped now. Will update later if things change. The plan is to stay put and see how it goes.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

8 weeks, emergency scan, Phoenix hanging in there

8 weeks today. I had a dream about bleeding and then it happened after a visit to the bathroom after breakfast. Now, it's 8 weeks, it happened with Oliver too, but the situation is different. So I decided to call the clinic, no point in waiting till tuesday if things have stopped already (mainly for the meds). As always they are great and just said to come in, there was a very experienced nurse available to scan me but also Fav Doc would have been in at 11 if I wanted a second opinion. The nurse was great, in fact she also said, if she had concerns or if I had concerns after the scan we would wait for Fav Doc. The screen was on, we followed the scan together. Phoenix is still there, growing, though not fast at all, he measures 7w1d today (grew 3 days from tuesday) and the heartbeat is up to 144. The nurse said if it wasn't for the fact that we know I'm 8 weeks, she would see nothing wrong with the embryo or the solid heartbeat. But I am 8 weeks so it's still not looking good but it seems to hang on for the moment. I also have developed a clot which is below the sac but definitely obvious at the scan, I can't tell if it's the same as last tuesday given that last tuesday I didn't see a thing on the screen. In her opinion, this is not threatening for the pregnancy, there is no bleeding in the sac, no misshape of the sack or yolk sac, and it's between the sac and the cervix. It may bleed and if it does it can be quite a lot. Or it may just reabsorbe. Who knows.
In any case, I cancelled my scan for this tuesday and booked it for the following tuesday (unless something happens in the meantime), no point in going in every 3 days.
It must have been a tough day at the clinic, the nurse said I was the third pregnancy that went in with bleeding this morning (and it was 10am), I hope the others got good news.
I am calm and ok with the situation, something strange going on with me, I am remarkably calm when things are bleak and I fret about nothing when everything is going well...

I once again wanted to thank you for your comments, I actually replied to most of them on the blog but I am not sure if you get notified, so you may want to check!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I thought that if Deng survives we really owe him a much better and more powerful name. So it will be Phoenix, like the mythological creature that is reborn from his ashes. I have actually started calling him Phoenix already. You know, just in case he's still there.

I wanted to thank you all for your support and comments, honestly, I really believe there is a much greater chance that Phoenix will not make it, all the literature points in that direction, bar a few cases, and I think what is even worse is that in all performed studies, once you have a slow hb at 7 weeks, even if it gets normal by 8 weeks, the chances of first trimester demise is still significantly higher than if you have a normal hb at 7 weeks. Plus as I said, this correlates with a higher chances of chromosomal abnormality. Which means that even if next week Phoenix has caught up with growth and hb, we are by no means out of the woods. If I have to be honest, I don't know what to wish for myself.

Today I started pondering what will happen. Say we do get to next tuesday with no bleeding. Say we get the "I'm sorry" speech. What happens next? Will have to do a D&C? Would it be better to wait? Still at this stage it would be quite a bit of bleeding I imagine, can something bad happen, like can I collapse? And what do you do with the embryo itself? I'm sorry for the gory questions, I suppose this is me being a scientist and dealing with the situation... If I do a D&C I think everything will go back to normal a bit quicker, I still would want to fully detox from the meds I'm on before going for another FET anyhow so I'm in no major rush, but still. I have read it can be weeks before it happens naturally if you wait. Not sure I want to go down that road (you know, I have things to do, places to be...).

Any advice would be very welcome I know many of my cyber friends are sadly very familiar with losses.

And it's just to be prepared. Just in case Phoenix will not surprise us (but he might!).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

And we hit limboland

Did I say already I feel a bit disconnected from this pregnancy? Maybe is the fact that we have Oliver with us already, the fact that I feel guilty I cannot care for him as much as I like (lifting ban, getting up early to go to work, tired in the evening etc) and I think he's definitely noticed. In any case, at my 6w3d ultrasound, I did say we saw the heartbeat but that also we didn't measure it. To me it looked a bit slow just by looking at the monitor, but who am I?
Today I felt again quite nervous, but I always do. I didn't have a good feeling, but again that's nothing new with me. I tried repeating myself the mantra "there will be a strong heartbeat of 144". I remember I did the same with Oliver at the same scan.

Fav Doc wasn't available for the scan and a different doc did it. We have met him before, but the change of plan gave me a bad vibe. In any case this Doc could't get the tv screen to work, so I practically saw nothing at all. As the wand went in, we could see things were bigger, I could see the flicker on the monitor. But when we heard it I had no doubt it was slow. I guessed that if it was 120bpm it would have been doing well. It was 115. The Doc didn't seem to concerned. Started taking measurements and pics which I didn't see if not for a fraction of a second on the screen when he was saving them on my folder. I mentioned the spotting and he checked around the gestational sac, where there may be a very small SCH, nothing to be worried about. Doc said to get dressed and we go over the pics and stats. As I got dressed I said to Mike, this doesn't look good. Basically the baby measured 6w5d (so 5 days behind) and of course I know it was a different person taking the measurement, also the yolk sac was very near the baby so maybe it made it more difficult, but still it would have grown 4 days in a week (last scan measured 6w1d). He said it's the low end of normal but that this means it's still normal. Same for the heartbeat. Now, I have read plenty on the matter, and the low end of normal starts at 120bpm when you are well into the 7th week. Associate this to a slow growth and I am not sure how optimistic we can be. In fact they want me back in for another scan next week. Things can pick up of course or demise. Welcome to limboland. This Doc didn't even give us a pic. So we may not have any other picture of Deng (never liked the name either!).

Being a scientist in this situation is a pure blessing. I do strongly believe that should the pregnancy stop it is due to bad genetic make up of the embryo and it would be the right natural path to avoid worse heartache later on. Add that I am not yet feeling particularly attached, and I'm living this situation as if it was happening to someone else. Very strange, right? What can I tell you. I am ready if things turn out for the worse. I even asked the Doc very matter of fact "the worst thing that can happen is that I miscarry, right?" and he immediately said "but hopefully that won't happen!!" But let's be honest, I'm no spring chicken, I was almost 37 when we produced these set of embryos, just assuming that they are all genetically sound is foolish.

But, as they say, the fat lady has not sung yet. We just have to wait and see. And I'm relaxed, at peace actually. Feeling almost the same as when the ectopics were diagnosed. But not giving up hope either. I don't know, I know I sound confused, but I said it so many times, we are so so blessed already, another baby would be an amazing thing, but I don't want to be greedy either.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ah the dreams...

Surely this must be yet again another normal thing. Dreaming to bleed and spot one night and dreaming a full on miscarriage a couple of nights later. And oh my God the details are gruesome! I'll spare you my readers.

I remember I had a similar dream when pregnant with Oliver but nothing really happened (I did have one episode of odd spotting at 8 weeks). With this pregnancy, while I am definitely much more zen, the spotting does happen and does bother me. Now I'm tracking it when it happens. It seems to be about once a week, or let me say better, it was a week since it had happened last. Yesterday evening, another tinge in the TP. I'm talking always brown for now and just one streak in the otherwise normal mucus. So I try not to worry, but of course the trips to the loo carry some anxiety. Add the dreams and you have created an obsessive compulsive toilet paper checker.
Again I know very well that I can't do anything one way or another, I'm just willing the time to pass quickly till tuesday for the proper viability scan. Early miscarriages are common of course and very often due to some genetic issue of the embryo, so should this happen I would think it's Nature doing its job. Now...shall I really wish to add yet another drama to our family making? Hell no! But it can still happen and I need to be prepared. Not thinking it will happen, but just ready in case it does.

And you know, I want to end on a good thing, my perky boobs are back! Hello girls! Where have you been? Hopefully we'll be given the all clear for some action, my mood is definitely right!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The ultrasound

Things are progressing well! I went in for my follow up scan this morning (6w3d) half doubting that we would see much, we are at that borderline time with Deng being a frozen Penguin and all, that 6w3d could actually be 6 weeks only. In any case, the Fav Doc did the scan, things were definitely bigger and we could see the yolk sac and the little tadpole. She said "can you see the flicker?" mmhh not really. "Here it is!" and sure enough I could see a little flicker. She said her machine would not pick it up yet, but she measured the CRL which put the little one at 6w1d (perfectly within error) and she was delighted. I also found out that the Fav Doc runs now an early pregnancy clinic on tuesdays at my clinic, so she'll be happy to see me every week if I want to. And of course I do! I'll go back next week for a proper viability scan.
She also recommended getting in touch with the OB I want for the pregnancy. I thought it was a bit too soon, but she said it's no harm in getting in. The doctor that followed Oliver's pregnancy is actually retiring, so he's not taking on any more patients. My other excellent option was to go with the doctor that delivered Oliver and that I had named Dr. Wonderful. I called his secretary and the fact that I was a private patient with his colleague and then he delivered my first baby gave me a priority boarding pass. So we are on. First appointment on the 15th of October (Jeez...will I get that far?) I feel I'm rushing things a bit, but in the spirit of not waiting for the other shoe to fall, I'm just going to go with the flow.

This is today pic of Deng (surely we have to find a better name for this Penguin...)

And also just to remark that the intensity or fading of the control line on a FRER means nothing at all! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

20 months (and 6 weeks!)

My little baby is not so little anymore, he's 20 months today! He's the joy of our lives, and I want to give a little summary of where he is at.

Teeth: he has 11, and I think the 4th molar is about to come through.
Sleeping: Sleeps through the night since we sorted him out after coming back from holidays. I can't recommend that book highly enough!
Eating: He eats everything, of course he has his preferences, but overall he's happy to try new things. Still no nuts as such for him, we just don't have many in the house in general I suppose! He's on two bottles a day (breakfast and night-time).
Talking: He is a chatterbox though it's not too clear to us what he says most of the time. He has though a lot of words which we now understand very well, most of them are in English, bar a few that are in Italian. It's very funny. He understand very well both languages.
Walking: Not a problem there, he's mostly running now in fact. He's becoming more and more adventurous and climbs chairs, tables, sofas etc. Of course he goes up the stairs too, a bit more reluctant in coming down. We still don't let him go up or down on is own though.
General behaviour: He is a very very sweet boy, very affectionate and generally quite obedient, he has his moments of course, but for now we didn't have too many tantrums. He's using his soother only at night and sleeping time, so he's growing out of it. In the creche he's in the last of the wobblers room, he'll stay there till he's two and then will move to the toddler room. He still uses the loo anytime we bring him there, we are not toilette training at all yet, but when we are at home that's where he does his business most of the time.

And I'm 6 weeks today! Nothing to report, the occasional very minor spotting still happens, and when I'm saying minor I mean it's only a hint on TP sometimes in the evening which I think may be connected to the progesteron suppositories. I have no reason to think something is wrong. I did go through a day or two where I thought that the sac looked very low in the uterus (you know...I pretend I'm an ultrasound expert!) so in the end I texted the Fav Doc who responded very quickly telling me off for being on the internet too much, that the sac is where it should be and to just stop. So I did. On tuesday we'll see how things are progressing, I think I feel a bit different this time from when I was expecting Oliver, the nausea seems a bit more (mostly every second day) and definitely the bad taste in my mouth is very prominent. I wonder if it may be a girl this time. I tested again this morning (as per clinic requirement) and the test is the same as last week. So this control line that should disappear isn't happening and I start thinking that it's a random thing depending on how much die they put in. My test line is very strong, comes up instantly. That's all I can say, and sure we'll know more on tuesday.

Next week the first years college students are arriving...let's the madness begin!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's in the uterus!

I was a wreck this morning. A tiny bit more spotting last night didn't help my mind at all. I was ready to see nothing at all in the uterus, to see something outside the uterus, to see nothing anywhere, and of course a tiny bit of me was hoping for the best news possible. I had not peed on any more sticks either, that's just too stressful at this stage and like you all said I'm just over analysing the intensity of each line making myself insane.
The Fav Doc called us in and immediately noted how nervous I was. But she didn't leave me hanging long, she immediately saw the sac in the right place and the developing yolk sac. Right on track for 5w3d.

What a relief! Again she said the spotting is so normal (but I never had it unless things were going wrong) between the progesterone, the clexane, the aspirin etc, it's almost a miracle not to have spotting. She'll see me again next week to see how things progress, but at least now I'm at peace! Thank you all for your support, this pregnancy will be lived differently, I just cannot waste this other chance to enjoy it rather than constantly worrying.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Picking up

Thanks so much for your support, I was really down. I didn't have a good day at all, quite a lot of back pain (can't remember having it with Oliver), and just feeling like this is going to end any minute now. I was alone with Oliver for a few hours, and again I had to lift him and bring him the stairs etc, and I could tell I over did it.

In the evening I had a bit of spotting. Not much at all, and only because my clinical eye scrutinise the toilet paper every time. But this is just too familiar. I re-read my old posts on the ectopic of 2009, had a good cry and just got off the internet and started reading a book.

This morning I tested again of course, I figured if it's over, the line will start to fade and the control will be even stronger. But it has not done so, in fact the control is fading and the difference is quite obvious today. So Deng the Penguin is hanging on. Let's hope to get a glimpse of something on tuesday.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

5 weeks

I will have a scan next tuesday at 5w3d at my clinic. The Fav Doctor estimated that by then my HCG should be over 1600 considering a doubling time of 48 hours.

This morning I tested again, the clinic actually suggests you test every week till the viability scan. The line is darker but not as dark as I had at the same time with Oliver. So I am now not feeling that great about this anymore.
You know the way on a FRER the control line tends to fade as the test line becomes so much stronger? Mine is still not that different.

This is the comparison with the exact same test I had with Oliver at 5 weeks.

I just want to curl up in ball. Today it's raining here, perfect day to feel sorry for myself. Maybe I should call the clinic and go for another blood test today? I am in no pain, which is good, maybe it's not ectopic and maybe it's just the pregnancy arresting. I have of course already looked at the library of pics on fertility friends and all of them show the control line fading with respect to the control, so I don't think I have much hope.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

13dp5dt (4w4d) and beta

The HPT this morning looked promising, still pregnant and probably more intense, I thought it was at least as intense as the test line (by the time it had dried at least). 

Would it have been enough? I went in to the clinic got the blood test and waited. I would have been happy with 150, better 180 or so. 
I just got the call and the value has gone up to 218!! Isn't it great? Doubling time of 30.4 hours, pretty much in line with the previous result. I am a bit relieved that it looks unlikely to be ectopic at this stage. I still want to go in for an early scan and I left a message with the Fav Doctor to see when she'll be happy to give it a go. I'm hoping she'll chance it for next monday (5w2d). 

HCG summary:

9dp5dt: 25
11dp5dt: 73
13dp5dt: 218

To be honest with you the first value didn't give me much hope, but for now it's looking good, another day in the Personal Penguin life, and he seems to be a right fighter! Don't give up little one, despite my best effort I'm feeling more and more attached to you every day that goes by.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Today would have been the day my clinic recommends to do and HPT. And just because I do things my way I didn't! I figure I'll do it tomorrow, no point in me worrying for a day if I were to be unhappy with the intensity of the line. So for today I'm free from worrying!

I managed to get myself an awful cold with coughs and sneezes, which trigger bouts of nausea too. Which is somewhat reassuring.

Not much else to update you on, no twinges since yesterday (nice).

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 20, 2012

11dp5dt (beta update)

I have stitches on my right side. It can be just in my head of course, and I do remember I had them with Oliver too, still not a nice thing to feel!

Tested again this morning, I'm sure you are sick and tired of my HPT pics, but I can't help doing all the comparisons between this series and the previous ones! So here it is for your delight, line getting definitely stronger, we'll see if the HCG will follow suit.

I'm going to the clinic shortly, will update when they call me back with the results. It will have to be at least 50. I had 52 with Oliver at 10dp5dt (but even though he was frozen, the embryologist said it looked like he never was and had fully re-expanded before transfer). Today is 11dp5dt maybe it will be ok. Thanks to you all for the kind support in my never straight forward positive cycles!

Beta update
The clinic just called, the number is up to 73! This gives a good doubling time of 31 hours. In fact, as you know I'm paranoid and I would have liked a less fast doubling time. With the ectopics, believe it or not, I never had that erratic increase you read on the internet. My beta were good. Great in fact, doubling time between 27 and 29 hours. With Oliver, the only normal pregnancy I had a doubling time of 37 hours. In any case, I am safe for now, nothing can happen at this gestational age, I'm going in again on wednesday for a 3rd blood draw and take it from there. I am happy, still very very cautious, but happy for now. I want my Personal Penguin!

Sunday, August 19, 2012


You, my friends, are wonderful. I can't help being very very cautious. You know, among the signs I never mentioned, there's the fact that August cycles never brought good news when it came to pregnancies. I am trying, I swear, to tell myself this is ridiculous etc, but you know how it is.

Anyway, this morning I had a bit of brown spotting, nothing major, and certainly nothing that made me freak out as such, it could be the Personal Penguin nestling in of course, it could be that today would correspond to the change of the month, and of course it could be ectopic (but I am doing all I can to block this out of my mind). It could be that yesterday I was on my own with Oliver quite a bit and I just cannot not cuddle him and lift him when he wants me to hold him. He is a real baby we have, in my scale of priority he's a mile ahead of the potential one growing inside. Mike is being fantastic, he's doing a lot around the house (did I tell you we got finally someone to help with the house cleaning? She's on holiday now though) and handles Oliver's lifting, dressing, bathing etc since the day of the transfer, so I have as much time as I need to take it easy.

I of course tested again to see which way the line was going. I was quite prepared to see it vanishing, but it didn't, it's stronger. We are still talking quite significantly lighter than the control, but what can I expect when my value yesterday was 25?

Beta #2 tomorrow. If I compare numbers with Oliver's pregnancy, I think this looks at least a couple of days behind, unless beta pick up swiftly tomorrow. So this pregnancy lives to see another day. But I think (fear) its days are numbered.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hello Deng (beta update)

Signs started being more positive in the last couple of days. Yesterday I even won 5 solitaires in a row (thanks to Mina for reminding me about the cards game!) and the number 8 ball upon being asked the question "Will I get a BFP tomorrow?" answered "Decidedly so". The physical symptoms also became a bit more difficult to ignore, two nights in a raw I woke up in a sweat, that only happened to me during pregnancy, but still, maybe the progesterone does the same.
In any case, last night I also had THE dream that it was positive.

And this morning it was positive. Second line definitely there, not very strong at all, but I don't have to squint to see it.

It's 9dp5dt, we are cautiously optimistic (very cautiously). It was a FET and the blast didn't look that good or at least not that expanded like we had with Oliver. I'm going to try and go for bloods today and monday, I don't think they'll be able to process today sample till monday, but I am at such a high risk for ectopic I don't want to delay any investigation. It's funny how depending on your past experience the priority after seeing a positive test change. For most is to have a baby at the end of it, for me, still, is trying not to end up in emergency surgery.

Went in for beta this morning and the clinic already called. 25. What a number, eh? We just have to wait and see how it goes on monday, Fav Doc was very happy, but she always is. I would have been happier with a 40.  Never straight forward with us, hold on tight for this new ride.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


If I see a particular car today, then it's a good sign. If I see this other car on the other hand...

Do you ever play this game? Not necessarily with cars of course, that's my thing. I realise that in the 2ww I tend to become a tad superstitious. Not that I really believe it though, but I realise I play "the game" and look for signs from the Universe to talk to me in advance to see if I'm pregnant or not. This is of course because I learnt that your body is completely unreliable when it comes to the 2ww.

6dp5dt and no idea. This is a phrase I used as a post title when I did get pregnant the last time. I really have no idea (may be a good sign?). I think signs point mostly towards not pregnant though.
Here's a list of the signs so far.
It started badly at the clinic the day of the transfer. Bad sign.
They did not give me a pregnancy test. Good sign.
The Fav Doctor did the transfer. Can be both, she only did it once before and it was ectopic.
We have no real name for the penguin (ok, it's just "The personal penguin" from one of Oliver's books, which he calls Deng for some reason). Bad sign. It is very sweet though!

Urge to test early. Bad sign. (I will resist till 9dp5dt)
I played the number 8 ball online and it said "No" than "Yes" and all the shades in between. Irrelevant.
No cycle buddies as such. Irrelevant (I'm generally the Fertility Goddess for others).

Physical symptoms.
2 days of headache (4 and 5dp5dt). Bad sign.
Boobs not sore. Irrelevant.
Insomnia. Also irrelevant.
Cramps on and off. Irrelevant.
Tiredness. Irrelevant.
Heartburn. This is new, I'd class it irrelevant though.

So I really don't know. As I said many times, having Oliver makes this a completely different experience in any case. One thing we know is that we'd like to donate our embryos (if we have any left after adding one more child to the family) to a friend who may need them to build her family. One of the sweetest things Mike said was "I hope it works the first time so there will be more penguins left". This for me would also be one of the best reason why I wish it will work despite all the signs.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The 10 Days on my own

Thank you for all your support on my FET day experience, I don't know if you guys get back to see the comments, I realised I could reply to what you have said and I did it in a couple of occasions!

Anyway, 2dp5dt and trying not to think of it, so I'm writing my last blog post on the holidays.
You may remember that Mike and Oliver travelled back to Europe alone, while I spent another day in San Fran before flying back East to Boston and to a nearby conference. 10 days were LONG without the family. Sure, by the time I was at the conference I was quite busy, but I did miss my little one terribly. The fact that he wasn't sleeping for Mike at all made it even worse. Thanks to the time difference, I was often able to be on skype with them when Oliver would wake up in the middle of the night and not resettling at all. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Mike had relocated Oliver's cot in our bedroom. Still, the one thing that really seemed to help, was me singing to him lullabies through Skype. Given that I am a terrible singer and that I may know about 2 songs, I really think he was just worried I was never coming home. Poor chicken! Of course on top of this he was teething, top two premolar are nearly out now but it wasn't fun.

I loved Boston, I actually prefer Boston to San Francisco, probably just because it has a more familiar feeling. I did one of those hop-on, hop-off tours and it was great. Weather was hot and definitely more humid than in Cali, but totally manageable. I stayed at the Kendall Hotel in Cambridge and totally recommend it. It's a lovely area (I had to go and walk the grounds in Harvard!), hotel is superb and very very conveniently located. So keep it in mind if you happen to go that way! Tripadvisor never lets me down!
Of course one of the highlights was buying the Mac Book Air! And thanks to you all for the tips, yes I have the Office 2011 but the incompatibility I was mainly talking about were between graphic programmes we use in chemistry which lose their original formatting when you copy the schemes in Office for Mac (only). So it's a bit of a pain, but nothing too major.
The conference was a great success, definitely one of the best I've been at and will certainly re-attend in two years time (same place, same venue!) but by the time it was over I was well ready to go back home. I had already described my quite eventful journey back so I will close this post with another little paragraph on Oliver and some of the things that worked for us to help resettle him in a proper routine.

So a part from the first two days I was back, with Oliver really tired and unwell due to the viral infection, our little man stopped sleeping through the night. This was already happening while on holidays, but it was getting out of control. Not only he would wake up for hours during the night, but he had also started not wanting to go down to bed at night. At the beginning I was certain it was separation anxiety, what if mamma was disappearing again? I could see he really wanted to be held tight and his crying wasn't the annoying nagging one, it was the sobbing type, the "I'm really afraid/upset" kind of cry. Furthermore, I seemed to be the only one he wanted. Let me tell you, after a week of this I was ready to hire a nighttime nanny. Surely others may have had this experience, surely there is some technique we can try. I looked among the various books my SIL had given me on parenting (and I never read) and found I had this one called "Beyond Toddlerdom" written by Christopher Green. That was not really suitable as it deals with children behaviour from 4 onwards, but the same author has written this other one called "New Toddler Taming" and the reviews were great. Anyway, I bought it and I am really glad I did. The book is full of very good tips and mostly common sense, but it also shows you how a toddler thinks and gives lists of things that are normal behaviour and others that are behaviours to be rectified. It has a full chapter on sleeping and he has optimised what it is called the "controlled crying techniques" which is NOT the CIO technique, it specifically prevents any crying situation from escalating, the author states that it is proven that after 10 minutes, most toddlers don't actually know anymore why they are crying and become very scared. It's totally pointless to ley it get to that level. Anyway, we tried it and within 2 days our Oliver was back to full night sleeps. Seriously, this was just a little short of a miracle. He says it in the book you have to allow 3 days and 90% of the time it works like a treat. Glad we were not the 10%! The going to bed protest occasionally resurface (mostly monday night, after the first day back in the creche) but we now have the tools to handle it very well and within 10 minutes at the most he's always quiet (normally we don't know when he falls asleep as we leave the room that he still awake). Let me know if you try it out. Of course there are many other chapters dealing with tantrums, feeding and toilet training, so it's really good and furthermore it's written very lightly, with lots of examples from his experience as a paediatrician who specialise in behaviour.
Anyway, going to read a bit more of the book!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

FET day

And so today arrived. I got my usual call in the morning to make sure we were still alive and happy to progress with transfer. It was a new embryologist, I never met her before, somehow I was hoping that Ivy would have handled my embryos. But ah well. As always they have to tell you that they will defrost one at the time (in our case we wanted a single embryo transferred) and should the first one not survive they go ahead with the next one and so on. If I didn't hear anything then come to the clinic for 3.30. Transfer scheduled for 4.
I went on with my day and for 3.30 we were at the clinic. I was called almost immediately to the pre-transfer area and I kept drinking a bit as I usually pace myself not to be too full.
Here things started going not so well. Mike found a newspaper and just started reading it. So much for company and support. I had to tell him it wasn't very nice for me to watch him reading the newspaper. 4 came and went. By 4.20 I was literally in pain my bladder was bursting. I sent Mike to the nurses to see what the hold up was. Sorry we are a bit behind, she can use the toilet to relieve the pressure but it'll only be a few more minutes. So I waited. The usual theatre nurse came to get us, and brought us to theatre. She scanned me and my bladder was a balloon! I decided to pee a bit. By the time I came back I was again in pain. It was 4.45 by now. I had to go a second time. Furthermore, today there was the female boxing final at the Olympics and an Irish boxer was going for gold. At 4.45. Everyone seemed to care just about that. It really wasn't a nice feeling. Not only I couldn't give a shit about it, but boxing is my absolute least favourite sport. Anyway, the embryologist came in to tell us they only had to defrost one embryo, so we still have 4 in storage. This embryo by the time of the transfer had started to re-expand, so I think she was optimistic it has a chance. Me not so much. But I'm sure it's because of all the emotional surroundings of the day. When we transferred Oliver, by the time of transfer it had fully expanded and it looked like it had never been frozen. This one is definitely slower. The Fav Doc did the transfer, it was over very quickly and I was wheeled back to recovery room just in time so that Mike could rush out to see the end of the boxing. So there I was, bladder bursting and unable to get up from the bed. A nurse came in to say she just couldn't watch the match she felt so anxious and off she went again. Ireland got a gold medal, lots of cheers from the crowd outside my cubicle, the telly happened to be just outside. Mike came in for a second and off he went again. At this stage I was really getting upset. I had to call Mike to help me get up and finally pee. I had a knot in my throat and just wanted to go and pick up Oliver. Which I actually cannot lift now for a few days. Such an anticlimax. I sent Mike to get the nurse, I had enough. I had to listen for the 7th time to all the recommendations which always end in "stay positive, it can and it does work".
I am at home now, I won't be going into work tomorrow, not that I think bed rest is necessary at all, but I also don't think I have ever felt so negative about a cycle so soon to be honest. And sure I know even in the absence of an important sport final, doctors and nurses are just working, but it's just so much nicer when you think it actually matters to some one else other than you only. I also know my feelings are completely irrelevant to the outcome of this transfer, I won't feel guilty one bit for being upset. Mike specially really let me down, but I wonder why I keep getting surprised. You know I gave him a voucher gift last Christmas for an hour with a pilot in a flight simulator? It took ages to find it, I was so so happy I got that idea, I was sure he would have loved it, and maybe he did, but he actually has not done it yet. Why do I bother, seriously, is it me expecting too much?