IVF with donor eggs

One week old (32 weeks gestation)

It’s been a week (and a few days) since Carter was born, and he’s doing great! He was taken off of all oxygen support on Saturday – one week and one day after birth. He is up to 3lbs 11 oz after losing some weight in the beginning to 3lbs 7oz. So he’s doing really well considering how early he was.

I’m doing much better, too. I’m moving around better, and the swelling is completely gone! I’ve lost 30lbs since entering the hospital a week and a half ago. That just shows how much fluid I had! Granted, I still have about 20 more lbs to go, but I’m hoping with all of the pumping I’m doing it will come off somewhat quickly.

That is one area that i have not struggled with-producing milk! I may not have working reproductive parts, but my boobs definitely work! Ha! I have been sticking to a 2.5-3hour schedule for pumping, so it’s just like I’m feeding a newborn (even the waking up in the middle of the night). I want to keep my supply up so that hopefully he’ll be able to nurse when he’s big enough. But oh how I’m tired of this stupid pump!! And I don’t even get the baby snuggles when I’m finished. But it’s all worth it because he is tolerating my milk well, and I know it’s the best thing for him and his growth. Besides, I really want the chance to nurse him and bond with him since he’s spending so many weeks away from me.

Just one more thing–I am so incredibly in love with this little boy. We’ve made comments about our donor like how she must have tall people in her family because he’s so long, or how he better have blue eyes because we sure did pay enough for them (his eyes are still pretty dark now and the pigment hasn’t really developed), but there hasn’t been a moment where I haven’t felt a connection or pure love for this little boy. He has completely stollen my heart already.

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IVF with donor eggs

Things just got a lot less boring!

I have been planning on getting on here and posting about some of the third trimester things that had been happening. The typical shortness of breath, unable to tie my shoes, gaining weight, etc. I did not expect that the next time I wrote a post for this blog would be to announce that our son was born on Friday, March 16 at 31 weeks gestation. Yep–things just got a whole lot less boring!

So, I had my appointment at 28 weeks where I got the rhogam shot, the tdap vaccine, and had my glucose screening. Everything looked great at that appointment, and we officially started our every two week appointment schedule. We actually scheduled our csection date for May 11th and we were on our way. Well, about a week later, I noticed the swelling in my feet and legs getting a whole lot worse, so I emailed my nurse to see if I needed to come in. The swelling was showing some pitting, and wasn’t getting better after resting and putting my feet up. With my history of preeclampsia, I wanted to stay on top of things. So they got me to come into the office the next morning. My blood pressure was 126/86 (up from 120/60 the week before). I started to get worried, but I was kind of shooed away by the doctor and was told to just keep an eye on things. He repeated my lab work to be on the safe side because my liver enzymes were a little elevated the week before, but all are back normal. I wasn’t convinced.

The next week or so was super busy. Ryan and I went on a couples getaway trip to a cabin in Arkansas. It was lovely. We walked trails, relaxed, and were there with good friends. My swelling continued, but I took advantage of long baths and being away from our six year old for the weekend. When we got home to Monroe, I had Ryan go by Walmart to buy a blood pressure monitor and some compression socks to help with the swelling. I wanted to keep an eye on things for myself because the swelling and the pitting was just getting worse. Besides, I was about to go to Birmingham with my mom and Anadine for a few days and I wanted to be able to track how I was doing.

Birmingham was fine (the reasons we were there are for a whole other post on another day) and we left Wednesday to head back home. Wednesday morning I woke up in our hotel room feeling kind of crummy. I took my blood pressure and it was kind of high (160/96) but it had been a rough night, so I ate some breakfast and took a nap. When I woke up it had gone back down, and we didn’t think much of it. We headed back towards home, and I debated on whether Anadine and I would stop off in Jackson for the night, or just continue on to Monroe (2 more hours of driving) to get to my own bed. Well, Anadine was tired of being in the car, and so was I, so we decided to stay in Jackson and just head home in the morning. I wasn’t feeling well. I was exhausted. I told my mom I wanted to take my blood pressure and take a nap. Well, my blood pressure was 160/103! I continued to check it every 15 minutes, and it fluctuated a good bit, but that bottom number never dropped below around 96. My dad came by to help watch Anadine while my mom went out to get stuff for supper, and the whole time we were all trying to figure out what to do. We didn’t know whether to trust this at home blood pressure monitor, but finally it got scary enough that my dad called one of his friends, a doctor, to ask him what we should do. He advised going to the hospital to get someone to check my blood pressure. He made some calls for us and told us to go to Labor and Delivery at the hospital up the road (the same place I delivered anadine 6 year’s ago) and that they were expecting me. My mom stayed behind to put anadine to bed, and my dad drove me to the hospital. I walked in with stuff to spend the night, just in case they wanted to monitor me over night. They got me in a robe and bed right away and took my blood pressure. It was 174/111! They took labs and I had 10,000 units of protein in my urine. They told me at that point I would not be leaving that hospital still pregnant. I was considered severe preeclamptic and the only cure for preeclampsia is delivery. The question at that point was how long they could keep me in there to incubate. We kept getting mixed numbers from a couple of days to a week, but they gave me the steroid shot and said that our first goal was to make it to 48 hours for the steroids to kick in for the baby’s lungs. They started me on magnesium to relax my muscles, which would bring my blood pressure down. At this point they were most concerned with keeping me from having a stroke during the night.

Luckily, the magnesium brought my blood pressure down almost immediately. But my labs were not looking good. I had a UTI, so they started treating me with antibiotics. They started a catheter because the magnesium would make it impossible for me to get out of bed. They took labs about every 8 hours because any spike in numbers would suggest kidney or liver failure. They were keeping an eye out for HELPP syndrome. Meanwhile, Ryan was back in Monroe getting packed to come over in the morning.

Thursday was filled with getting things in order. I had to contact my boss and let her know I would not be returning after spring break, etc. Thursday morning, the doctor came in (by the way, he ended up being the same doctor who delivered Anadine) and told me that their goal was to make it to noon on Friday to have the csection. I got my second round of steroids, and then it was just wait time. My doctor had to go to Austin, so another doctor would be the one to actually perform the csection, but Dr. Gnam continued to monitor my progress form Austin. He really was so fantastic!

By Friday morning, I was feeling awful. The magnesium made me completely lethargic and unable to move. My swelling was ridiculous! My legs looked like turkey legs. They were probable 4 times their normal size. I could let move the muscles in my face. Ryan kept laughing because in order for me to just open my eyes, I would have to lift my eye brows really high. There are pictures. Those pictures will never be shared! I had visitors in and out, but I barely remember it. Our friends from Monroe came with their daughters (Anadine’s best friends) to spend the day with Anadine. That way my parents could be at the hospital during the csection. She was well taken care of, and I will be forever grateful for them coming all the way over to Jackson like that.

So 12:00 was csection time. Ryan got all geared up in his scrubs, and they wheeled me back there. They gave me the spinal and laid me back on the table. Doctors came in, and Ryan was entering the room as they started the incision. He had already started the video to record the birth, and in that video you can hear me call out “ouch!” As he’s walking though the door. I could feel the doctor slicing through my belly. I had been saying I could feel the test pinches, but he was so busy chatting with the other people in the room that he never heard me. Finally, he did hear me when I shouted out at the incision. We waited a minute longer to see if the spinal would start working, but it never did. They said they would have to put me under general anesthesia. This meant Ryan couldn’t be in the room, and I wouldn’t be awake to catch even a quick glimpse of my baby boy before they took him to the NICU. So they put the mask on my face, and the next thing I knew I was waking up and it was all over.

Owen Carter came out screaming. It was the best news I could possibly hear upon waking up. Screaming meant he had good lung function. The second best news was that he weighed in at 3lbs 15 oz–about 14 oz more than they anticipated from the sonogram performed the day before. He was also a whopping 17 inches long. We told anadine that 17 inches is only one inch shorter than her American Girl doll. He is a long little thing!

The next 24 hours continued to be a blur. They kept me on the magnesium, plus I was recovering from general anesthesia. People were in and out, but I barely remember any of it. They finally took me off of the magnesium about 3:00 Saturday morning, and I instantly started feeling better. I got to go meet my son at about noon on Saturday – 24 hours after he was born. He looked so tiny!

The next 24 hours were all about monitoring blood pressure, lab work, and coming off of the magnesium. I was finally able to eat at noon on Saturday (my last meal had been scrambled eggs on Wednesday night). My whole body was still significantly swollen, but getting better.

Sunday afternoon, I got to go back down to the NICU and hold my son. We had about an hour of skin to skin and it was fantastic. Ryan got to hold him, too. Anadine, unfortunately, still has not met her baby brother. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed back in the NICU during flu season. She’s been pretty upset about it. I think she’s struggling with understanding that he really was born. She keeps looking for proof, like wanting to see the incision in my stomach (not going to happen- she’d have nightmares for years!)

We got discharged Sunday afternoon. I had been the only patient on the floor all weekend, so they never moved me to post partum. It was pretty awesome. But by Sunday things started picking up, and we were told we would either have to move rooms are go home. We chose to go home.

Ryan and Anadine headed back to Monroe and I stayed behind at my mom’s house to recover and be close to Carter. We are just taking things week by week to figure out how to navigate our son being in a NICU 2 hours from home. But, we are just so thankful that he is in one of the best NICUs in the area, and that it’s in a city where my family lives.

So how is Carter doing? Fantastic! They took him off the cpap yesterday (Monday). This means he’s no longer getting the forced oxygen through tubes in his nose. Now he’s on the nasal cannula, a small tube that provides extra oxygen next to his nose. It’s a step in the right direction! He’s had to be under the Billie light for jaundice the last two days, but they expect to maybe take him off today.

I saw him for a few minutes yesterday. I intended to have more skin to skin time, but I ended up needing to be admitted for a few hours because I had high blood pressure readings at home. Luckily everything checked out okay and I was discharged. But by that point I needed to get home to pump and Carter had already had a pretty eventful day with the removal of the cpap.

I’ll go up there today for some much needed skin to skin time and I cannot wait! In the meantime, I’m pumping around the clock, and my mom is the new milk delivery lady. Luckily her house is less than 1.5 miles away from the hospital. We really are so lucky!

So that’s our story. I’ll keep the blog updated on how we are doing and Carter’s progress.

IVF with donor eggs

27.5 Weeks and Feeling it!

I am so sorry it’s been so long since I have posted anything. And really, I don’t have much to say today other than I feel bad I haven’t posted. But to be honest, there just hasn’t been much to report, which is a good thing! I’ve had two doctor’s appointments since that anatomy scan, both of which were super boring. They just listened for the heartbeat (around 140 each time), check blood pressure, etc. I saw the doctor for probably 2 minutes each time.

But now I have started my bi-weekly appointments and I go back next week. It should be a little more exciting… I’ll have my Glucose test, Rhogam shot, and Tdap vaccine…fun times! Nothing like getting poked a whole bunch, but hey all of us in the infertility world are used to being poked, right?

Time is sneaking up on me. The second trimester just flew by, and I am definitely feeling the 3rd trimester effects. The exhaustion is coming back with a vengeance! I also feel like a whale! It’s like my stomach just exploded out and I can’t imagine getting any bigger than I am now – although we all know I will!

Baby boy is kicking up a storm, rolling around, and kicking back when we poke him. Anadine thinks it’s hilarious and says that she’s already playing with her little brother. She is so excited and can’t wait to help. I’m not sure she knows what’s REALLY about to happen though! ha!

So as I said – things are pretty boring around here. Hopefully they continue to be boring though!

 

donor eggs · IVF with donor eggs · pregnancy after ivf

Anatomy Scan – 18.5 weeks

We got to see our little man today, and it was amazing. Everything looked great. He had a all of his fingers and toes, legs and arms, and all of his organs looked to be doing well. He was measuring at around 19 weeks at 10oz. I just think he is the cutest thing I have ever seen. Usually ultrasound pictures look so strange to me, but something about seeing his little mouth and nose, and his arms and legs all curled up, I just want to cuddle up with him already. He was super still and shy in there. He had his hands pulled up in front of his face, and he was opening and closing his mouth like he was trying to figure out how to suck his thumb. His legs were crossed at the ankles, which you can kind of see in the picture above. I am just so in love with this shy little cuddle bug.

I started feeling real kicks this past weekend, and Anadine and Ryan have been able to feel them, too, which is really exciting. I loved that I could see him moving on the ultrasound screen and feel him at the same time – verification! I do have an anterior placenta, so she said I may not be feeling anything real strong right now, but she did say that his legs are real low near my bladder – he’s sitting straight up in my belly right now, so I could be feeling his legs kicking me down low because my placenta is up higher. Again, verification because that’s exactly where I’ve been feeling him. He wasn’t moving a lot this morning, but when he did move I could feel it.

So I guess that’s it for now. I apologize for all of the gushing, but I guess I’m on a high after seeing him and finding out everything is okay. I had terrible dreams last night that something was wrong, so I’m just elated to find out that he’s just chilling all happily in there. I am definitely in love!

 

IVF with donor eggs · pregnancy after ivf

Celebrations Filled with Doubts

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. If you have experienced success after infertility, I think you’ll be able to understand what I am going to try to convey here. When I was pregnant the first time, it took be a very long time to be excited about it. I had experienced so much heartbreak and loss, that I couldn’t let myself feel joy in fear that it wasn’t going to last. I was convinced that something was going to go wrong. Some may say that I was being pessimistic, but I think it was more of a defense mechanism. I had gotten my hopes up so much through the infertility process. Before we found out I didn’t have Fallopian tubes, I spent months getting my hopes up, each time to be greeted with a period in the end. Then three rounds of IVF, each one getting my hopes up that it would be the one, only to get cancelled or result in a failed pregnancy test. So when it finally did work, I didn’t let myself get too excited because I was afraid that something would happen. That it still wouldn’t be my happily ever after. Of course, I enjoyed every minute that I could, but I always had that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I shouldn’t let my hopes get to high — just in case.

This time, I feel the same way, except now there is this layer of guilt added to it. This is going to sound ridiculous, so forgive me. Compared to getting pregnant the first time, getting pregnant this time was a breeze. Yeah, see, that’s the ridiculous part. It wasn’t a breeze. I had to use donor eggs. We had to pick out a freakin’ donor for crying out loud! We lost our first choice, and had to choose another one. And the money! Oh the money we spent! But I got pregnant the first transfer we did, and because of that I feel like it was really easy. We’ve made it through the first trimester and I’m still pregnant – so easy. I hear about and read about these girls who, even with donor eggs, go through rounds and rounds to get pregnant or stay pregnant. I just feel so blessed. But kind of like my first pregnancy, I feel like I can’t get excited. At least not that blissful, nothing will go wrong kind of excited. I feel like we’ve gotten too lucky, and my time must be coming. But then I realize all of those things that we did go through to get here. And all the steps we took to assure, as much as possible, that we have a healthy baby growing in there. It’s not like I had sex, and whoops there’s a baby! It was not easy. And this is not a life where you can compare yourself to others. Everyone has a different diagnosis. Everyone responds differently to the drugs and pregnancy itself. So what I have to do is believe that my body can take care of this. And remember that I’ve done it before and didn’t have issues carrying a baby, so why should I expect it to be different this time? I have to be as happy as possible, and take what I’ve been given.

So for some updates, because I know it’s been forever since I have posted anything.

We had the gender scan and “found out” that we are having a boy. Of course we already knew that, but it was nice to get the confirmation. And Anadine did not know, so it was fun to see her find out. She went to the appointment with us, and was super cute as she watched the baby wiggling on the screen. She’s pretty excited it’s a boy. She kept saying “I want a sister, but I think it’s a brother” so I guess she was preparing herself for any outcome.

I am currently 17.5 weeks. My belly is growing each day, and I’m starting to feel more and more flutters. I still haven’t felt any definite kicks yet, and I have to say I’m feeling pretty anxious to start feeling them. It’s still at the point when I think I feel something and think “maybe that was the baby?” I’m really anxious for Ryan and Anadine to be able to feel the movement. I know Anadine will get such a kick out of it (pun intended).

The nausea is much better, and I haven’t gotten sick in about 2 weeks. I have had terrible heartburn though, and when I do feel sick it’s because of that. Lots of acid reflux, which is disgusting and not fun!

We go in for our anatomy scan next week. I know I say this before every appointment, but I’ll feel so much more sure about things after this scan. I’m just ready to be confident that all of his parts and pieces are in there where they are supposed to be. Plus, seeing him moving on the screen always puts my mind at ease.

After Christmas is over, we’ll start the transition of moving Anadine out of her current room and preparing it for a nursery. She is starting to come around to this idea.  I think once she sees that all of her stuff will be in her new room, she’ll feel more at ease about it.

So I guess that’s it for now. I’ll try to update again after our appointment next week.

IVF with donor eggs · pregnancy

Telling People – FYI: lots of pregnancy talk

I am 13 weeks pregnant! It feels so good to be at the end of the first trimester: emotionally and physically. While I am still feeling nauseous at times, and I haven’t gotten all of my energy back, I am starting to feel things getting better. I think part of my exhaustion is non-pregnancy related, and more of a time change thing. I never have an easy time adjusting to the time changing, and so I’m choosing to believe that that’s the cause of my tiredness.

So we started telling people on Halloween (I was about 11.5 weeks at that point). We told our daughter the night before Halloween by giving her a present. It was a big gift bag, and as she went through it she found things like a package of pacifiers and baby clothes. She thought it was so funny – she was just giggling the whole time. And then in the very bottom of the bag, she found a pair of scrubs (her size) that say “big sister” on them. She read the words, and gave me this look like “huh?” and when I told her I had a baby in my tummy, she was so excited. Now it’s all she talks about.  She is just the sweetest thing about it. Yesterday she said that she was going to ask Santa to bring some things for the baby. I’d say she’s pretty excited!

I told my class on Halloween and they were also super excited. The lesson that I planned worked perfectly. A lot of the kids thought that I was just kidding at first, and then were shocked when I told them it was true. Thanks to them and Anadine, I haven’t had to tell the news to anyone – they have all taken care of it for me. I love it!

I’m starting to get a little bit of a bump, but still just look like I’ve just gained a lot of weight. People who know I’m pregnant comment on how I’m starting to show, but I know complete strangers, or people who don’t know I’m pregnant, are just looking at me like “poor thing – so fat!” ha! Yesterday, I started feeling the little bubbly flutters, which is crazy! It’s pretty much constant when I am sitting still. So constant, in fact, that I’m not completely confident that it is the baby. But I can’t figure out what else it could be, so I’m just choosing to believe it is the baby.

We go next week for our gender scan. Anadine will go with us, and she cannot wait! Even though we know what we’re having from the PGS testing, we aren’t telling anyone what it is until we get the official scan.

So, does this pregnancy feel different than my first? Yes – in so many ways. But none of those ways has anything to do with this being a donor egg baby. It honestly hasn’t crossed my mind. I already love this baby so much, and even feel more bonded than I did with my first pregnancy. I think with my first, I couldn’t believe it was real. I had been through so much heartache, that I couldn’t let myself relax. Plus, there was that worry about actually birthing the baby and being a mom. Now I know what to expect with all of that, and I’m just enjoying every minute of what is likely to be my last pregnancy. (Although, those words are easier to say now that I’m feeling better!) I’m still a nervous wreck a lot of the time, and panic with thoughts of something being wrong, but deep down I know it is all okay and meant to be. I am so in love!

 

early pregnancy · IVF with donor eggs · pregnancy

Appointment Update

We went in for our bi-weekly ultrasound today and everything still looks great! The baby is measuring 11 weeks 2 days and had a heart rate of 162. I know it’s just an estimate, but every time we go, he is measuring a couple of days ahead of where I expect. I expected him to be at 10 weeks 6 days, which I realize isn’t too far off from 11 weeks 2 days, but I have to tell you that hearing the “11 weeks” sounded pretty amazing. I was super excited for this ultrasound because I knew he would finally start looking like a baby – and I was NOT disappointed!

11 weeks

We won’t go back until 16 weeks. As glad as I am to be “normal” and “graduate” from the infertility world, it’s also so scary to know I won’t have another check in for another 4-5 weeks. But I also hope that I’ll start feeling some flutters between now and then, and perhaps we can start detecting a heartbeat on our at home doppler. The 16 week appointment will be our official gender scan, even though we already know the gender from the PGS testing. But hey, it’s an excuse to peak in on him again, and it won’t hurt do double check on that gender either!

We plan on telling Anadine next week, on Halloween, and I’m going to tell my class the day after that. I have a really cute lesson planned where we will talk about making inferences when they read, and then we will play a game that I set up where they try to infer what is being told to them from clues that I pop up one at a time on the PowerPoint. I have clues like “Mrs. P has been really tired lately” and “Mrs. P soon won’t fit in her clothes” to finally things like “Mrs. P will miss school for most of May” and “Mrs. P has a living organism inside her.” It should be fun because I bet most of them still will think it’s just a lesson. I can’t wait to see their faces. But of course I really can’t wait to see Anadine’s reaction. We aren’t telling anyone it’s a boy yet – not until that official gender scan – so we still get to go through the phases where she can guess what it is, etc. No gender reveal party here though. I kind of think they’re ridiculous, and because it’s extra silly since we really already know! HA

 

IVF with donor eggs

A Must Read Article

I just read this, and now I have tears in my eyes. To all women who are still struggling with IVF, DE IVF, or any kind of “artificial reproduction,” this is a must read. To all moms who are struggling with telling your children that they were conceived differently, this is a must read.

http://www.kidspot.com.au/birth/conception/real-life/im-a-grown-up-ivf-baby-heres-what-i-want-ivf-parents-to-know/news-story/4734b16bdcbc98b64bfea88c452ce210

IVF with donor eggs · pregnancy

2nd Ultrasound

Hey y’all! I am so sorry I have not updated in a while. I have done it several times in my head, but unfortunately that did not translate to actually doing it. Work has been crazy (it’s parent/teacher conference season which means every break in my day is taken up) and when I get home, I literally crash! Yesterday I took a 2 hour nap when I go home. I totally took advantage of the husband coming home early, so he took 5 year old duties while I slept. It was amazing!

We had an ultrasound last Thursday and everything looked great! Baby was measuring at 8 weeks 5 days and was even moving around a little bit. He looked mostly like a little blob, but you could see some little arm buds forming, so maybe more like a gummy bear-blob. We heard the heartbeat, which sounded great, and of course it brought tears to my eyes. We’ll go back next Thursday for another ultrasound. I can’t wait for that one because he should be really looking like a baby by then!

My all day nausea has been getting better, but I have been getting pretty sick in the evenings. I’m convinced it’s the estrogen tablet I take that makes me feel bad. I’ve gotten to wear I just dread taking it. I think at this point I would rather give myself two pio shots a day then have to swallow a pill. I only have about 2 and a half weeks left of taking these meds though, so I’ll keep trudging along!

I emailed Jenna, the donor coordinator, and asked about when we would get our donor’s contact information. She said that she leaves it up to the intended parents to let her know that a cycle worked, but now that she knows it did work, she would send out an email to me and the donor to “introduce us.” I still haven’t received that email and she told me this last Thursday. HMMMM.

So that’s the update for now. I’ll be better about updating after next week’s ultrasound.

IVF with donor eggs

1st Ultrasound

I have been so nervous leading up to this day. I’ve just felt so different than I remember feeling when I was last pregnant. I have to keep in mind that I am 6 years older than I was. Being pregnant at 36 (tomorrow) is much different than being pregnant at 29/30. I’m just feeling so many twinges and pulls. And I’ve been nauseous, but not sick. I’ve also felt a bit like I have the flu: chills, aches, exhaustion, all of which I know are related to pregnancy, but it just seems more intense than it did last time. I also think that I’m just so set up for receiving bad news, and this IVF cycle has been relatively easy. But I have a lot to say about that topic so I’ll save it for another blog post later.

Finally today came and I went in for my ultrasound. Everything looked great! According to dates, I am 6 weeks 4 days. The baby is measuring 6 weeks 5 days. His heart rate was 132, and was so strong! Obviously there isn’t much to see this early, but I did see our little bean in there and the yolk sack, and everything was right where it should be.

Ryan is on a work trip to Las Vegas, so I had him on speaker so he could hear the heart beat. My mom was in there with me (she came into town to watch anadine because I’m going on a women’s retreat this weekend).

So I have to mention, the mom of one of my students was the one doing the ultrasound–awkward!! She was totally professional and said she wasn’t breathing a word about anything, but it was still a little weird that she was the one holding the wand! Ha!

I go back in two weeks to have another ultrasound and get all of my OB lab work done. I truly feel so much more at peace about things. I’m starting to feel like this is really happening!