On Interpreting Your Own Blood Work…

Today (well, yesterday… I fell asleep midpost!)  began with me freaking myself out. (So what else is new?!?) I signed into my online patient portal for my new obgyn and saw that my most recent blood panel results had been entered in. One test at a time, I checked my results against the recommended ranges and everything looked perfect… until I got to this scary sounding thing called parvovirus

Right away I went to the good ol’ Internet. Parvovirus B19 is more commonly known as fifths disease. It is common among young and school aged children and presents like a common cold, sometimes with a fever and rash. It is not dangerous unless you are immonocompromised (which pregnant women are), and it can infect the fetus and cause miscarriage. Cue freak out. Once I calmed down and read 17 additional scary statistics, I looked back at my blood results. I noticed that “Parvovirus igg” was elevated, but “Parvovirus igm” was in the normal range. 

Back to google. Turns out “igg” represents the antibodies and indicates that I once had the virus. Meanwhile, “igm,” which was normal, indicates current infection. When I followed up with my mom, she confirmed that yes, I had fifths disease when I was very young. And when I followed up with doctor, she confirmed that my results were merely an indication of former infection and so not to worry. In fact, she told me, even better because now I am immune!

Something new to learn every day of this journey…

I’m a Graduate!

Today I received a message I have been waiting for! At 12w5d I have officially graduated from my fertility doctors. No more weekly blood draw. NO MORE PIO SHOTS. Never thought this day would come.

Obviously I feel so very grateful and humbled  to be at this point. My NT Scan is tomorrow and we plan to “announce” Thursday or Friday (though, to be honest, I have been pretty loose lipped about it the past few days at work…). 

And yet, as I listened to my main doctor wishing me well and urging him to call him any time if I need anything, I actually got all choked up. This is something I never could have anticipated. I am legitimately going to miss the entire staff of that office, and I feel so grateful to them for the kindness and patience they have shown me during a difficult and emotional journey. 

So today is bittersweet. But mostly sweet. 👶🏼

12w Bump Watch 

Still pretty quiet in bump town. 

  

My Sonoline B Doppler arrived today. I want to thank everyone who recommended it! I watched a few tutorials and then laid down on the couch to give it a go. It took about 5 minutes (I think I got lucky!). First, I heard my own heartbeat (slower), then the infamous swooshing sound that’s not baby. Then, when I dug in a little deeper, I for sure found baby’s heart beat, slightly below and to the right of my belly button. 

I couldn’t stop smiling. ☺️

Cravings & 11w5d Update 

  Who needs vodka when you have mandarins?!? And listen, I’m only half joking because I’m already 3 deep and I just got them home 10 minutes ago.  Even the smell of them is so satisfying. I seriously think I could make a good dent in this bowl by dinner time if I’m not careful…

I’m so relieved to be craving fruit instead of cake and candy. I hope this is a new trend. 

  There’s my strong baby gummi bear at 11w4d, with feet in the air! Placenta is lighter area to the right, which I thought was pretty cool, and my bloodwork shows that it is doing its job of producing hormones. I’m done with Estrace and Progesterone weening is underway! I may be one week away from my last butt shot. Fingers crossed. 

The hematoma appears to be gone which means exercise restriction has been lifted and I am off pelvic rest. My NT scan is a week from tomorrow and I’m planning to officially “reveal” [i.e. on social media] once I have the results. 

Doc mentioned the accompanying blood tests (MaterniT21) but didn’t write a prescription for the lab work so I’m not sure what that’s all about. But I don’t think those are time sensitive so I will ask at my appointment next week.

I’ve got a lower belly bloat pouch, but this has never been a “flat” zone for me.  My clothes are all still fitting; even jeans. I’m eagerly awaiting second trimester and hopefully will sport the oh-so-cute second tri bump soon! ☺️

Ok, I’m off to eat another mandarin…

To Doppler or Not to Doppler?

Spring break = hallelujah!

Spring break also = extra time on my hands!

So that, of course means, even more time to research all things baby! My most recent google searches revolve around Doppler fetal heart rate monitors. 

As with all things, I am torn. I am a Libra, so this is nothing new. On one hand, my weekly ultrasounds will stop soon and having the Doppler could give me some peace of mind between visits. On the other hand, if I have trouble using it, it could give me unnecessary stress. For centuries, women have [mentally] survived pregnancy without access to all of this technology. My own mother had two ultrasounds and nothing else when she was pregnant with me. If she could do it, so can I, right?

But still, that little Doppler is calling my name…

What are your thoughts, and if you bought one, which one did you get and would you recommend it?

What Would You Do If…

An hour before my first “big girl” (non fertility doctor) prenatal appointment on Monday, my phone rang. It was a colleague of mine. I had confided in her last year while I was going through some of my fertility treatments. She herself had suffered from RPL, though she now has two healthy children. (Yay!!!) 

I should mention she is a supervisor for our district and has always liked both my husband and myself. She can be a little abrasive but if you are on her good side, then you start to learn that this is just her personality. She tells it like it is. I do respect her very much professionally and appreciate her friendship.  For the sake of this entry, I will call her K. Here’s how the convo went:

K: I just talked to your husband. He said you are looking for a doctor.

Me: He did? He knows I have an appointment this afternoon. I’m leaving in half an hour!

K: Who are you using?

Me: (gives name of group)

K: No you’re not. Cancel the appointment. That’s who (name of former colleague) used. I’m texting you my doctor’s information. Call him and make an appointment…

The rest of the conversation was a blur. To explain, a few years ago, a staff member in our district experienced a terrible tragedy. 6 days after she gave birth to her first child, she died from an infection. According to the articles that were written about her, she had called the doctor’s office several times complaining of a fever and not feeling well, and was told that this could be attributed to the fact that she had just been through childbirth. (She had no complications with her pregnancy and her delivery was textbook). 

Obviosly, when I learned that she had used the same practice as I was about to start using, I was shaken. I had done my homework before I made the appointment. My sister, who was a nurse at the hospital where I am going to deliver, asked her colleagues for recommendations. I read up on many doctors online. I even opted to use a hospital 40 minutes away rather than 5 because I wasn’t happy with what I had heard about the closer hospital. 

I should mention that K ended the conversation by telling me to do whatever I was comfortable with, but that she couldn’t in good conscience not tell me. I also learned later, from my husband, that he had told her who I was using and that I was going that afternoon. So she called already knowing the trajectory the conversation would take.

 Both my husband and my sister have told me to ignore K. She couldn’t say for sure who the doctor was or even if (s)he is still part of the practice. Unfortunately, there are tragedies that occur and it could happen to anyone with any doctor. The bottom line is, I’m 11 weeks today. I don’t have all the time, money, and blood in the world to go around trying lots of doctors. Obviously I know I have to be my own advocate and go the extra mile to do the best for myself and baby.

I went to my appointment in spite of the phone call. I wasn’t blown away or anything, but it was fine.The doctor did forget to give me my prescription for blood work and NT Scan until I asked at the front desk. Then he apologized profusely. I don’t know… maybe it is worth a comparison shop. What do you think?

The other naggibg thing about this whole incident is that Rob said something to K about how much unnecessary anxiety she caused me and now I’m afraid she is going to act differently around me. If she cut us from the good side to the bad side, that’s going to crush me.

Argh; this is the first time I have regretted being open about my journey with people I know. But maybe it is a blessing in disguise. I’m very conflicted. 

What a Difference 5 Weeks Makes

I do have quite a bit that I need to write but I am super busy with work and life right now, so for now… here’s a photo journey of ultrasounds. The most recent was this afternoon, 10w4d. 

EDD October 22, 2015

Oh, aaaaand I heard the heartbeat today, which was so different from seeing it. I held back tears, and of course this is the first ultrasound that Rob missed, but we’ll be sure to get him to the next one. Hearing the heartbeat. Holy shit. I can’t wait to make it to week 13 and shout it from the rooftops (that’s a topic for a whole other post!)

  

Why You Shouldn’t Bother to Go to the Grocery Store During Your 1st Trimester

Walking up and down the aisles at the grocery store during your first trimester is about as futile as dusting a mirror. 

I sat in the parking lot for half an hour before going in, trying to decide what to make for dinner this week since nothing that resembles real nutritious food sounds good to me right now. I called Rob, frustrated, and he said just focus on tonight and tomorrow and we can shop during the week based on my taste (or lack thereof). He also offered to make risotto tonight. I settled on this recipe for tomorrow. That took the stress off and I finally went in. 

Actually going inside did not make it any easier. The strangest things seemed to keep making their way into my cart, but an aisle or two later, I would remove them and quickly stash them on the wrong shelf, thinking, “ugh, I don’t want these anymore…” 

Somehow I did manage to buy fruit, vegetables, and chicken… but I also managed to buy the following items:

  

Wtf with the hot cross buns, right? But I love them and I never buy them. Almost Easter + pregnant = hot cross buns in the shopping cart. No regrets about the Hawaiian Punch – I haven’t had this stuff since like 1987 but it hit. the. spot. All I can say about the soda pop gummi candies is that I could smell them as I walked down the candy aisle and I think I was so thirsty that I caved. They were, predictably disgusting. 

Here’s the thing; I haven’t eaten red meat in almost 20 years and I have kind of been craving London broil and fast food roast beef sandwiches. 

Sigh. It may be cliche but the pregnancy taste buds are in full swing. Or maybe it’s just my normal taste buds but now I have an excuse to give in.

The Belly Book

A few weeks ago, I purchased the pregnancy journal, The Belly Book, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

It is divided by trimester and has a very playful tone about it while still capturing all of the important milestones. Today, at 9 weeks, I finally got the courage to start writing in it. 

While I certainly don’t plan to post every page, I will pick and choose, here and there. Here’s a glimpse at the first page. ☺️



A New Acronym

I thought I was well versed in TTC and pregnancy lingo, but last night I added a new acronym: SCH

Subchorionic Hematoma. (Also known as: Scared the Crap out of Holli).

Also known as blood clot that hemmorhages and makes you think the worst.

Around 9 last night when I had finally sat down on the couch to relax a little, I started getting period type cramps. They were on the mild side but noticeable enough that I went to the bathroom. And what happened was the “wipe” we all dread. Fresh, red, and flowing freely. I yelled down for Rob to come up. He must have heard something in my voice became he came charging up the stairs. I barely choked out that I was bleeding and I melted, a sobbing mess, into his arms.

After a few minutes of him holding me, we decided it was best to go to the ER. It was a full house in that waiting room and I won’t even get into the nuances of my inner monologue as we sat there and waited. 

In triage I had the awful question of “Is this your first pregnancy?” (“First uterine pregnancy. I sat in this very room the day my tube ruptured last August.”). Then more waiting.

ER doc was no George Clooney or McDreamy. He inverted a bedpan under my hips to lift my pelvis and let’s just say he wasn’t very gentle on the internal. It was the first time I’ve ever had a vaginal exam while lying in Rob’s lap. The speculum looked like a light up glow in the dark noise maker. (And later at a more appropriate time, Rob commented how “cool” it looked, confirming that, yes, he is indeed male). 

After what seemed forever, I was finally being wheeled to ultrasound. The bleeding was slower but still present. The tech so so gentle and sweet. She inserted the wand and immediately asked if I had a c-section. I explained about the tube removal and she turned the monitor toward her and continued to click and click and type and click in deafening silence. Rob held my hand and once we met eyes and I could tell we were both thinking the same bad news. And finally after the longest two minutes of my life, she turned the screen toward us. She turned the screen toward us. And even on my exhausted and emotional state I knew they don’t turn the screen toward you for bad news. 

“There’s baby,” she pointed. Clear as day on the high tech machine, unlike I’ve seen in my doctor’s office. Measuring in at exactly 8 weeks (perfect), with a heart rate of 157 (perfect). I cried tears of joy and breathed for the first time in three hours. 

At the end of the night, my awesome nurse (who started my IV line on the first try!), whispered to me, “I am so so happy for you. I’m 13 weeks pregnant and the same thing happened to me when I was 6 or 7 weeks.” I wasn’t discharged until almost 3am, but I didn’t mind. This awful night ended with the best news it could have. The radiology report showed a clot about 1cm (which is small as far as clots go), and I do believe I passed it this morning. All of my bloodwork came back normal, and I have a follow up appointment at my clinic this afternoon. 

I’m exhausted and poor Rob had to go in to work today (I took a sick day), but I am happy. I have a million more things to worry about now and I’m not out of the woods (are we ever?)… but last night had a happy ending and that’s all that matters for now.