For all those going through infertility…

… you are not alone. The female body is mysterious and difficult to understand.

This is not punishment for something you did or did not do. You are not at fault.

It sucks. It does. There’s no other way around it, but you will survive this.

Science knows a lot, but it doesn’t know everything. Follow your heart, gut, and head; whatever leads you.

Everyone has a story about something. Share and listen. You may feel alone, but you are not.

Try not to let the battle with infertility draw you away from those who strengthen you. It’s so hard not to push others away with the greatness of your pain. Give them a chance to be there for you.

Don’t hide your story. The worst thing we can do for each other is keep our stories a secret. Not only can we learn from each other, but we can connect and provide support for each other.

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And we have a baby!

We had an induction planned for Friday, February 1st, at 9:30pm which was 38 weeks.

That was not meant to be as my water broke at 3:30am on Friday, February 1st.

Due to the polyhydramnios, I was carrying a lot of extra water. And by a lot, I mean like a liter. Luckily, I was wearing some really fashionable Depends which saved the bed, carpet, and need to clean up a huge mess. Unlike the first time my water broke, there was absolutely no doubt this time.

Our almost-five-year-old J, was diagnosed with Flu A just the night before, so we wrangled up the help of our amazing neighbors to stay with J until my parents arrived. So, they got an interesting call at 3:30am that morning and got on the road to relieve our neighbor from the many Nick Jr. episodes that J was binging on along with popsicles and juice boxes.

Knowing that baby was smaller than J, I was hoping to labor without any interventions. After 12 hours of labor from the point of my water breaking and not dilating past 1cm, I accepted assistance. Ignoring my husband’s recommendation (in hindsight was probably the better idea), I started pitocin without the epidural. Hours later, still at 2 cm and in too much pain, I asked for the epidural, quickly moved to a four, then to a seven, and my doc arrived and we were ready to push. The epidural was light so I felt every contraction, supposedly just pressure, but very much pressure it was. Though I didn’t push for 2.5 hours like last time, I pushed for 45 minutes, then my doc was called away (which was actually a relief for me and allowed me to let my body labor baby down on its own) for over an hour. Another 45 minutes of pushing once he returned and Baby R entered our lives.

He wasn’t screaming. He wasn’t too upset at all. He looked at us with one eye open, then two.

I stared into those eyes while I, again, needed surgery to remove my placenta. Instead of being rushed to an OR, my doctor was prepared to handle it in the delivery room while I stayed with my husband and my baby. We all got to stay together.

Unfortunately, the week didn’t pan out the way I wanted. Our son, J, couldn’t visit us in the hospital because of that FLU thing and couldn’t hold his brother until a week later once he was out of the window of greatest risk. My parents and all of us were dosed with Tamiflu and J and I were in limited contact while Baby R was restricted to his room. My husband and I ended up back in the hospital when Baby R’s billirubin levels got too high. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster, but we are together again, at home, as a family of four.

I don’t have the words to thank everyone that brought us to this place.

It’s really unbelievable.

Everyone who sacrificed time from their own lives to help with ours.

Those friends, neighbors, and family who have supported us by listening to all my worries and stories over and over. Bringing food after our failed cycles. Calling. Texting. Asking.

The doctors and medical professionals who supported them and us, through fertility treatments, tests, procedures, multiple surgeries, and losses.

My husband who is as bull-headed as I am. He held strong through all the ups and downs, and then further downs of hormone therapy, medications, treatments, tests, losses, and anxiety of the past seven and a half years.

I am forever grateful.

37 weeks

Baby is doing well! Scored 10/10 on the biophysical profile, heartbeat in the 140’s, measuring approx. 8lbs 3oz. AFI (amniotic fluid) is back up to 33. :( So, I’m feeling stretched pretty thin again and find myself needing to be horizontal just to get the pressure off my skin and muscles. If I’m upright, I’m contracted most of the time. Laying down, my body is able to relax more and the contractions are less often.

I’m more tired than before. Maybe it’s the mandated bedrest that makes me more tired, or maybe it’s just being 37 weeks with an 8 lb baby. Either way, it’s not easy to depend so much on my hubby. He is doing just about everything around the house right now and he’s taken on a project of building some cabinets around our fireplace (something he’s wanted to do for quite a while now).

I’m all off the procardia and if labor starts now, it’s baby time! He was taking practice breaths again in the ultrasound but had his feet and fists up by his face with a lot of umbilical cord floating around, so no good face photos. But that’s okay. We will see him in person soon enough.

So glad he is well!

36 weeks! We made 36 weeks!

Yesterday was my 36 week checkup with high risk and then regular OB docs.

The high risk ultrasound revealed that baby is HEAD DOWN!!! Head down! Yay! Baby scored 8 out of 8 on the biophysical profile. He was practicing breathing like a champ. His stomach and bladder were both full up and his kidneys looked good. Knees were in his forehead again. Silly kid.

The fluid also measured 23 and then 25, so much closer to normal (above 24 is considered too high, so I’m now considered normal, but just barely).

Whew! Such good news. I had no idea baby had flipped, so I was super shocked. My regular OB was thrilled, too. He even suggested that we may not need the c section date scheduled for Feb 2 and he would even consider letting me go to 39 weeks if baby stayed head down and fluid looked good.

After I returned home from my appointment, I ate lunch and passed out. Not literally, but I fell asleep so hard, I guess the morning wore me out. After a couple hours of snoozing, I picked up my kiddo from school and walked in for the first time in a week and a half. I miss my students. I really wanted to stay and say HI to them and tell them that all is well and I look forward to getting to work with them again. My school is my home away from home, my people.

Throughout all of this, I have felt so supported, rallied around, and people whom I barely know have offered to help out any way they can. Friends have emailed, texted, prayed, made food. Bedrest has made me feel pretty isolated, but those messages remind me I’m not alone.

Bedrest has also made me constantly tired. Tired all the time. I thought I was tired before. Now, just signing my son out of school wiped me out. I’m reminded that I’m still working, building and providing for baby. I’m listening to audio books and slowly checking things off a list (things I can do online or on paper while laying down). That’s when I’m awake. ;)

 

One percent

Due to my low Anti-Mullerian Hormone level, we were told we had a 1% chance of conceiving on our own.

After achieving pregnancy through IVF and welcoming our son, I developed Asherman’s Syndrome: found in 1.5% of women evaluated with a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) for infertility.

Three years, many surgeries, and two FET failures later, we are pregnant again and I develop hydramnios (polyhydramnios): occurs in about 1% of all pregnancies.

The “one percent” has become a recurring theme through this journey. Here’s to hoping that this is the third and final “one percent” that is a negative along the way.

Through some divine intervention this morning, I realized I am afraid. I am afraid of what the hydramnios could mean for baby. I’m afraid about what an early delivery might mean for baby, being premature, NICU possibilities, breastfeeding struggles. I’m afraid about the possible complications hydramnios presents to delivery, placental abruption, umbilical cord prolapse, post-partum hemorrhaging. I’m afraid of having a c section due to baby’s position. I’m afraid of that unknown recovery. I’m afraid of being able to have a successful vaginal birth and whether or not I will suffer the third or worse, fourth degree tear that is a real possibility. I’m afraid that I am letting everyone down: my family since I can’t care for them or the house as I usually would, my school and kids because I had to walk away suddenly and, though I was nearly prepared, I was not prepared to be gone so soon.

Fear. And anxiety. How will this all work? Are we going to be okay?

I know the truth. The truth is that whatever happens, we are going to be okay. Everything will be fine. No, it’s not going to go according to my plan. In fact, it’s probably going to go in about every other direction than what I anticipated.

I did know this would happen.

I said it myself.

I suppose it’s another opportunity to learn and grow into whomever I’m meant to be and whatever I’m meant to do.

Now, to flip this all on its head, how many people have an AMH level like mine with unexplained infertility like me and never get to have their baby? How many people have Asherman’s and never get pregnant again? Or never carry to term?

Grateful to be in the percentage that I am.

The official 35 week check-up

Today, I met with doc for our official 35 week check-up. Belly measured 40 weeks, cervix “tight as a drum” (which is good since we don’t want baby coming yet), got specifics on bedrest guidelines (laying or reclining for 1.5-2 hours at a time with 45 min. light work in between), baby is still breech, and doc has evidently changed his mind on the delivery day. His first reaction was to deliver no later than 37 weeks, but today he told me 38 weeks and that he was booking a c-section time for that day. He won’t continue the procardia to calm contractions after 36 weeks and that may be a deciding factor in that we may not make it to 38 or even 37 weeks if my contractions pick up and progress as they did the other day. So we will roll with it all.

I contacted my acupuncturist who said he may be able to help with the position of baby, so I will see him Sunday. With my belly already being at 40 weeks, doc said I’m only going to get bigger and more miserable. Fun!

I’m off work now until baby arrives, then my maternity leave starts. I’m just starting to get all the work stuff sorted out – cancelling things, rescheduling, having other people move things to appropriate places for my substitutes, and trying to breathe and let it go. All will be fine. I know.

35 weeks

A couple days ago, I had an extra visit with my high risk OB due to the polyhydramnios (extra fluid). Baby and placenta looked great! Baby was estimated at 7.5 lbs and we could see hair floating above his head! I noticed just before the appointment that I must’ve lost my mucous plug that afternoon so the doc checked but my cervix was closed, maybe 50% effaced. He did feel two contractions during the exam so he sent me to be monitored which turned into admission to labor and delivery as contractions were 2-3minutes apart. These contractions were just tight, not painful. Through the course of the evening and a few bags of IV fluids, the contractions became lower and painful, so I got additional meds and was able to sleep just a bit. Good news was that I finally got to eat the next morning when contractions were 6-12 minutes apart. My doc explained that the contractions won’t stop due to the hydramnios. I was discharged from the hospital last night after my second steroid shot for baby. I’m now on bedrest and out of work probably until baby arrives which is planned for 37 weeks if he stays out until then. Any and all prayers for my body to calm down, baby to get heads down into delivery position, and baby to stay strong are very much appreciated. He’s still moving well and we got some great face pictures!

 

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