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!!