Tuesday, August 30, 2016

(15) Wendy’s and Walgreens here I come!

In the last 7 days, I’ve had three MFM visits, all with ultrasound checks.  So I got to see the little Kung Foo fighters more than usual, which is OK with me.  I’ve even convinced all the ultrasound techs to give me their gender guesses.  They’re pretty good at it (since it is part of their job, after all), but my own eyes can see what’s happening down there too.  Circles, lots and lots of circles!  With these latest checks, and the earlier ultrasound tech guess, I’m very sure one of the babies is a boy.  I’m a little less confident in my guess for the other baby, partly because the guesses weren’t unanimous among the medical staff.  We’ll officially find out in a few weeks, but I’m planning an early surprise for Holly and Darren with my guesses.

For the surprise, I decided to take some muffins I bought at Costco, put some gender neutral frosting on the outside, and fill the inside with the gender colors.  Why Costco muffins?  (1) I already had them (minimum preparation!), and (2) they taste like chocolate chip cupcakes (yum!).  I just had to whip up some frosting.  So just one day after Holly and Darren returned from their “Babymoon” in the Bahamas, we met them for dinner at Wendy’s near the Portland airport.  It’s a nice mid-way meeting point for us (from Oregon) and them (from Washington).  It was a fun “reveal”.  Watch the video below (taken by Kaela) to see their reactions.

Two boys!  Darren was a little worried about this possibility, thinking two boys might conspire against him with some extra-clever mischief.   We’ll see!  Anyway, I’ll get my scheduled anatomy scan in a few weeks, where we’ll officially learn the genders.  Even though I say I’m not completely confident about the genders, I’m pretty confident.  I’ve been looking at them for a while now, so I think I know.  Kaela came with me to my recent doctor visits, so she has seen too.  Tom has not, so he was in the dark as much as Holly and Darren.

The next week Holly accompanied me to one of my appointments.  Almost always, I have company during my visits, but who comes varies depending on people’s schedules.  Usually, it’s all of us only when there is a big sonogram scheduled.  Today, it’s just me and Holly, and we both get to see the “boys”.  Early on, they were saying “Baby A” was on my right side, and “Baby B” on my left.  They determine this by who is closest to the cervix.  Baby A would be born first if I went into labor.  Well now they’ve changed, and are saying the baby on my left is Baby A and the right is Baby B.  So confusing!  Geeze, one more thing to keep track of! 

The regular check shows my blood pressure is high yet again!  They asked me to bring in my home tester to verify it is calibrated, since my BP is fine at home.  But even before this check, Dr. Merrill decides it’s time to start BP medication.  I’m worried about any medications, and their possible effect on my passengers.  Dr. Merrill assured me that the benefits far outweigh the risks, especially since he is prescribing a low dose (30mg Nifedipine).  These doctors are fetal specialists, so I have to trust that they know best.  While we’re at it, I also ask for some better Pepcid because my heartburn is out of this world uncomfortable.  I have had acid reflux for about 10 years now, and now that I’m pregnant (with twins), it’s not exactly improving.  Luckily I live in a time where these drugs have been proven safe with pregnancy.

Side note: I referenced "circles" earlier and I'm sure everyone was confused.  That was a message to Holly.  I'm sure she had a good laugh and I'll fill you in now.  Holly told me when she was younger she referred to the male anatomy "testicles" as "circles".  I could see "circles" on both boys clear as day when I hit 12 weeks and even better as time passed.  If only the nurse hadn't planted the seed of doubt in my head, baby B could watch this video with confidence!  

June 28th - 16 weeks

Me and my double BP check -  My home tester says 156 /103 Yikes!

Darren scared for two boys
WOW, two boys!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

(14) Kung Foo, anyone?

At 14 weeks along, Darren and Holly decide to host a get-together with a couple of old co-workers (Lily and Olga) and their families.  We decided to inform them of our little “adventure”, using a similar prank as we used with Tom’s siblings Sheila and Andy a few weeks ago.  Keep in mind that no one from Holly or Darren’s family knows about this, and won’t for another 10 weeks (when we reach 24 weeks – at least that’s the plan!).  In fact, I’ve never met any of Holly or Darren’s family members, so there’s little chance of any accidental encounters/recognition.  Anyway, I wear a snug outfit to show my curves.  I’m not huge (yet!), but I’ve got a little pot belly to show for my efforts.  I am carrying twins after all, which are now about the size of lemons.  Lily and her family arrive first, and we just play it cool.  But in the course of our casual conversation, I nonchalantly mention that I’m pregnant.  Lily didn’t say anything right away, but she didn’t have to.  Her look said it all.  Let’s just say her expression screamed “WHAT! How old are you?”  Calmly, and with some fabricated sadness, I say “Tom isn’t the father either”.  Now Lily is really confused.  Tom isn’t here, which really adds to the mystery of what I just said.  Then she looks over to Holly and Darren for some help with this suddenly uncomfortable social situation.  But Holly just couldn’t play the game.  She had this huge smile on her face, and started crying (happy tears of course).  Lily was shocked, and didn’t seem entirely pleased with our trick.  But she’s excited for us.  She is also pregnant and about 3-4 weeks ahead of me.  Then we all calm down and discuss the details of what has happened so far.  Olga arrived fashionably late as usual, and we pull the same trick on her.  Like Lily, Olga was really confused.  But, we don’t string her along too long, since we already had enough fun with Lily. 

At this time, I also decide to tell my family back in Arizona.  Even though 38 weeks seems a long way off (it’s now mid-June, and my projected delivery timeframe is late November / early December), I feel confident that we are going to see this through to the end.  Be positive, right?!  I called when most of my family was together for dinner.  I told them all individually as they passed the phone around.  In hindsight, I should have just had it on speaker…  Everyone sounded excited and supportive over the phone, but I wish I could have seen their reactions in person.  My son Zach wasn’t there, so I had to tell him at a different time.  When I explained it to him, he didn’t quite understand what was really happening, and was initially pretty upset.  Boys!  A few days later after talking with a co-worker, he called me to tell me how cool he thought it was.  His co-worker helped him understand (thank you co-worker!) 

Holly and Darren decide to take a babymoon.  Huh?!  I don’t think such a thing existed when I had my kids.  They chose a cruise to the Bahamas that leaves June 21st.  They invited us too, but I didn’t want to travel all that way while pregnant.  I’m being positive, but also cautious.  I’ll save vacationing for after delivery.  We discuss the appointments I’ll have while Holly is gone, and I have strict instructions to keep her informed by email. 

It’s now June 23rd, and it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been to the doctor (and a few weeks from the scary bleeding incident) so I’m excited to see Dr. Merrill.  He always seems excited to see me too (I wonder if he’s like this with everyone), but I think I’m just special.  A quick check shows my blood pressure is up, again!  I’ve been logging my BP for the past 12 days and everything is fine when I’m at home.  White coat syndrome people!  He is still worried, so he takes my blood for a Pregnancy Induced Hypertension Panel.  It’s a little annoying, but if it puts everyone at ease to take my blood and check my BP 24/7 then I’ll do it.  Dr. Merrill is legitimately concerned, so he has me come back on Friday the 27th and Monday the 30th to have the nurse do some monitoring.  It is pretty crazy because my BP is fine when I’m at home.  Now I’m starting to worry because they’re worried.  It’s a viscous cycle.  On a positive note, I got to see more ultrasounds of the active twins.  They were so wiggly that the sonogram tech commented that they must be Kung foo fighting in there.  Pretty cute!  When they calmed down a little, one baby was sucking his/her thumb.  The other was face down and the tech (being funny) said “it appears this baby is sucking the placenta”.  We both laughed at that because it did look that way!  I decide not to update Holly with all of my BP appointments.  No use worrying her and Darren while they are vacationing.  I just give her the highlights of what the babies are up to.  When they get back, I plan to reveal the genders of the twins to them, with a special surprise…

June 14th - 14 weeks

Saturday, August 20, 2016

(13) A Scare and a Secret

It’s June 2nd and I’m now 12 weeks pregnant.  It’s time for another doctor appointment.  Only this time, I don’t get to see my usual fun-loving Dr. Winkler.  Instead, I see Dr. Merrill.  He turns out to be awesome too, but I guess I was looking forward to having Dr. Winkler the whole time.  Dr. Merrill is one of about 6 regular doctors at this facility.  Anyway, a quick check shows my blood pressure is elevated again, so he was somewhat concerned (even though it went down again when he checked later).  Something to keep an eye on.  The scale says I’ve gained about 10 pounds in my first 12 weeks of pregnancy.  They say that with twins, if you are of normal weight to start (which I was) then you should gain only about 4-6 pounds the first trimester.  Ooops!  And I still have two weeks of the first trimester to go… But then it also says “weight gain is especially important between weeks 20-24 of pregnancy.  If a mother of twins gains 24lbs by week 24 of pregnancy, she reduces her chance of preterm labor.”  If I gained a pound a week for the first 24 weeks, I would be right on track, right?  So I’m not really worried.  I am eating super healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly.  I think the only “bad” thing I eat too much of is peanut butter, and it’s not that bad!

Fast-forward to June 10th, four days after my final Progesterone shot.  I’m very worried.  In fact, I’m pretty close to freaking out.  Despite being assured that stopping Progesterone “cold turkey” (and not tapering off) would be OK, I’ve started to bleed.  Please please please don’t let this be a sign of an impending miscarriage.  Please!  Close to panic, I send Tom a text at work, and then call the MFM office.  They advise me to come in immediately to get checked out.  I decide not to tell Holly or Darren yet, because I don’t want to stress them out for no reason if everything is OK.  Tom offers to go with me, but I told him I could handle it.  Be positive.  Be positive.  When I get to the office, it’s just like a regular appointment, starting with a pee sample and a weigh-in.  Soon, the triage nurse comes in with the portable sonogram machine.  She asks about my symptoms, and takes my blood pressure (which is really high now, because I’m stressed!).   I tell her that I stopped the PIO injections last Friday, and I woke up to blood this morning.  Calmly, she tells me to lay back so we can check out the twins.  I lay back and she hits me with the cold gel.  Brrrrr.  She starts panning around and says everything looks fine.  They are both wiggling around and their water levels are great!  She checks their heart rates, which are perfect (unlike mine).  Excellent!  Now I’m starting to calm down.  I knew this could happen but when it’s reality, it’s hard not to freak out.

Then she asks me if I want to know the sex of each one.  I say “of course!”  She informs me that at 13 weeks, it’s a little early to tell, but reveals that one baby definitely looks like a boy.  The other baby was a little shy and didn’t want to show “the goods” to the camera.   She checked my BP again, and it has dropped (compared to before), but is still elevated.  She’s concerned, so she puts in an order to the pharmacy for a home blood pressure monitoring machine, and asks me to start recording my BP three times per day – and bring the results to my next appointment in two weeks.  Oh joy!  I thought this was an overreaction to my stressful situation today, but I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we deal with elevated blood pressure.

Baby A on top (facing back)  Baby B on bottom (facing forward)
Baby B profile

I waited until the afternoon to call Holly and Darren.  They were happy everything looked good, and appreciated the fact that I waited to tell them.  Holly loved the fact that she only had to worry for about a minute.  I know Holly is particularly sensitive about any and all things that can go wrong.  We both shed a few tears because "life" is fragile especially at this stage.  I want to protect her from the bad as much as I can.  I even thought not telling her would be best but these little babies are hers and she has a right to know.  However, I didn’t mention that I found out one baby is a boy.  That will be my little secret for now.  BTW, Holly thinks I’m carrying 2 girls, hehehe. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

(12) OUCH!

OMG, I am so done with these daily Progesterone shots!  My butt just hurts.  It no longer matters that I’ve been alternating from one cheek to the other.  There are simply no un-poked locations left within the medical “ideal specified” area.  There have been nights where neither my husband nor I could remember if the prior night was “left” or “right, so we just guessed.  I’ve even considered going to my thigh that is how much my butt hurts.  So far, I’ve taken 68 needles in my backside, which leaves just 10 more lovelies to go.  78 total shots.  Ouch.  But despite the unpleasantness, I’m worried about stopping.  I’m hoping my body is producing what my two precious passengers need.  I’ve done some reading on maternity message boards about what to expect after you stop taking Estrogen pills and stop the Progesterone shots.  Most say you will spot (bleed) a little, but others say you may have no signs.  The RN at OHSU says I shouldn’t spot, but if I do I should go to the MFM for a check-up.  I want to stay positive, but it’s hard.  I’ll be stopping cold turkey!  It seems to me it would be better to taper off, but OHSU says that is not necessary.  They are the experts…

So I’m in the home stretch with the PIO shots.  Halleluiah!  For the final ten shots, Holly has given me ten gifts:  one to open each night after finishing each oh-so-painful poke.  She understands.  She’s done it many times herself, so yeah she knows that it’s a pain in the butt, literally!
  • May 28th – I get a poke and a pair of comfy yoga pants.
  • May 29th – I get a poke and a cute pink maternity tank top.
  • May 30th – I get a poke and a cute black maternity tank top.
  • May 31st – I get a poke and cute workout pants (I am officially 12 weeks!)
  • June 1st  – I get another painful poke and some hand soap, chocolate, and lemon heads!  YUM!
  • June 2nd – I get a poke (oucH) and a pregnancy sleeping pillow.
  • June 3rd – I get a poke (ouCH) and a Safeway gift card for some yummy Gelato (to eat, not for my butt).
  • June 4th – I get a poke (and on my birthday too, oUCH) and a gift card to Buffalo Wild Wings.  YUM!
  • June 5th – I get a poke (OUCH!) and a gift card to Target to buy some maternity clothes (for obvious reasons).  Just one shot to go!
  • June 6th  – My final poke (this one actually didn’t hurt! I think because it’s the last one) and a gift card to our favorite Mexican restaurant:  Chuy’s Taco Shop (or as we call it, “Muchas Gracias”) and their stick-on tattoo!

I never expected gifts like this from Holly and Darren, but it helped keep things positive.  They have been very generous throughout this experience.  I realize I’m carrying their babies, but I don’t expect anything in return except for the satisfaction of helping them start their family.  But I appreciate their generosity!  Not only did they have all of these post-PIO presents for me, but they also gave me a massage certificate for my birthday.  So sweet!

Now I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  I hope there are no “symptoms” after stopping the Progesterone.  I hope my passengers remain safe.  I’ll know shortly…

Saturday, August 13, 2016

(11) Rainbows, Wiggles and Giggles

A few days ago I celebrated Mother’s Day.  It’s an interesting feeling celebrating such a holiday when you are pregnant with someone else’s children.  I’m in an uncommon situation to say the least, so I’m really not sure how I should feel.  But I feel content, peaceful, and optimistic.  On this Mother’s day, I guess I feel this is right.  This is meant to be.  But I knew it would be a tough day for Holly, as prior Mother’s days have been.  People often forget about the mothers with children who are no longer with them.  I wanted to reach out to Holly, while at the same time not wanting to intrude.  With all the power I have in me, I hope I can give her children she can love, hug and hold next Mother’s Day.  But that is a whole year away.   So I kept my distance, and decided to send her a Mother’s Day card, wishing her a happy Mother’s Day for the children she’s had, if only for a moment.  I also thanked her for trusting me to carry her precious cargo.  I hope I made her day a little brighter.  It is said in the IVF world that a baby born after a loss is called a rainbow baby.  Holly and I both saw double rainbows (diff. days) not long after finding out I was carrying the twins.  Hmmm?

 A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm in comparison.

My next appointment is with Dr. Winkler.  He is the doctor who gave the okay for me to do this in the first place.  He’s also the one with that sarcastic sense of humor that not everyone understands (sound of throat clearing, Holly).  But I love it!  He makes for a fun visit!  Holly has lots of questions, none of which stump Dr. Winkler.  This guy really knows his stuff.   With all of her past problems, she wants answers for the “what if’s” in my case.  He drew diagrams and threw out stats like he was reading it from a text book.  We learned today that they will not let me go past 38 weeks gestation (a “normal” pregnancy lasts 40 weeks).  Twins seem to cook at a faster rate than singletons (who knew), so they normally get them out earlier, before any problems can occur -- that is if I even make it to 38 weeks.  I’m 9 weeks, 4 days pregnant today.  At 10 weeks they are considered a fetus instead of an embryo, almost there.  For today’s ultrasound, Dr. Winkler brought in the portable machine.  They were little wigglers!  They would hardly hold still to check their heartbeats.  They are the size of cherries now.  So of course Holly was prepared for a photo with cherries.

Me, Holly and the little Cherries!
Today’s appointment was later in the day so everyone could be there, and then have dinner.  After finishing dinner, we traded gifts.  Holly had a bag of maternity clothes for me to borrow.  We gave Holly and Darren the two stuffed animals we bought the day after the positive pregnancy test.  Many happy tears were shed.  Holly sent me the picture she took of Darren.  So sweet!

Daddy with the Bear and the Beaver!

Just over a week later, Tom’s brother and sister (Andy and Sheila) decided to come to Oregon for a visit.  We were a little concerned because we hadn’t planned on telling any family until I was at least 12 weeks along.  Well I’m now 11 weeks, so close enough.  The four of us went out to dinner at a local Thai restaurant.  We were having a casual conversation when I mentioned that I have some possibly shocking news.  Sheila said “There is nothing you could possibly say that would shock me, ha ha ha”.  I smiled a little, and looked over at Tom before sayings “Oh really?  I bet I can!”  Andy perked up at this, but stayed silent, wondering what was about to happen (maybe suspecting a fun practical joke).  So I looked at Tom again, and then announced to Sheila “I’m pregnant!”  Suddenly things got interesting.  Sheila wasn’t quite shocked yet.  She was smiling on the outside, but internally questioning our motivations for expanding our family so late in life.  I let it soak in for a minute, and then I said “with twins”.  Sheila’s un-shockability was starting to crack.  Andy was clearly not buying any of it, but couldn’t even guess where we were going with this.  A few seconds later I said “but they’re not Tom’s”.  Now Sheila was confused, and more than a little concerned.  When I finished with “and they’re not mine either”, some explanation was required.  But undeniably, I was able to shock the un-shockable Sheila!  We all got a good giggle out of this, and we finished dinner discussing how we got to this point so far.  

May 17th - 10 weeks pregnant!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

(10) Blueberries and Larry’s

The next week passes without too much excitement.  I am still sticking that big ol’ needle in my butt and it’s starting to feel tender.  But, that is okay!  I know that my little passengers need it.  Until my body is up to speed with making the necessary hormones, I can live with the soreness.

Unfortunately, I officially got the boot from my own OBGYN.  She wanted absolutely nothing to do with my 45 year old self, pregnant with twins. I had high hopes she would take me since I’m otherwise healthy, but sadly no.  It would have been so much more convenient for me, since she is less than a 10 minute drive from my home, whereas the MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) doctor is 30+ minutes away. 

For my first official MFM visit, I’m treated to a full workup:  blood, urine and an ultrasound.  Everything looks good, except for my slightly elevated blood pressure reading -- but apparently it’s elevated only at the doctor’s office.  They refer to this as “white coat syndrome”, a fictitious condition brought about by nervousness while in a doctor’s office.  I don’t feel nervous, but my blood pressure says different, oh well.  They are not concerned yet because my readings are not that high, and when they do a re-check, it falls back to normal levels. 

The MFM office is very specialized and very high-tech.  They have the latest and greatest sonogram machines on site.  While the sonogram technician is checking out the little blueberries (that’s how big the twins are now), she suddenly changes imaging mode and displays them them in 3D.  It was pretty cool!    

3D image of Twin A (left - Twin B (right)

I’m 7 weeks and 4 days pregnant at this visit. The little BBs look like little frogs with flippers, and they are so darn cute!  I didn’t see the MD today, just the triage RN.  She apparently does all “new” patient check-ins and sees women experiencing emergencies.   She actually had an emergency while I was waiting, with a sad outcome.  It’s heartbreaking to see and it makes you realize how delicate life is at this stage.

 May 3rd - 8 weeks!
Cinco de Mayo has arrived, so the four of us (or should I say six of us?) meet for dinner at a central location since we live in different states.  We met at the strangely named “Who Songs and Larry’s” Mexican restaurant, which is located right next to the beautiful Columbia River, on the Washington side.  Holly and Darren traditionally go out for dinner on Cinco de Mayo (Holly is a Spanish teacher), and this time they wanted to include their kids.  We had a great time, even though I couldn’t have my traditional beer.  

Sunday, August 7, 2016

(9) It’s a HOOT to finally see you

It’s been another waiting game since the blood tests.  I’m officially 6 weeks, 3 days pregnant.  But I still don’t feel any different.  If I didn’t take those home pregnancy tests and blood tests, I wouldn’t know I was pregnant.  Some would say I am lucky.  But at least with symptoms you know for sure you are still pregnant.  I’m still feeling confident (and I’m trying to B Positive!), but it would just be nice to have some kind of indicator.

Today is April 22nd.  Twenty years ago on the 21th of April Tom and I were happily married.  Many couples would go on an exotic trip, exchange lovely gifts, or head out for a romantic dinner for their 20th.  I knew when I offered that this could be the result and therefor I could potentially be pregnant on our anniversary. Twenty years ago, I was confident in our wedding vows of “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”  I guess we both meant it!  Back then, we had no idea we’d be doing something like this 20 years later.  I am forever grateful that I have a husband who loves me enough to support me through this life changing journey.  I couldn’t do this without his support!

All right, back to April 22nd.  It’s time to have an ultrasound to see what’s happening in my uterus. The uterus is located very low in the rear abdomen, especially when it’s small.  Even using ultrasound, seeing what is going on in there is a little difficult through the top of the belly until the uterus is large enough to protrude up.  So they have to use an ultrasound wand.  And yes, you guessed it:  they have to go in vaginally (oh yay!).  My modesty went out the window weeks ago, so what’s one more privacy invasion.   So, all four of us are in the examination room again.  Holly is sitting in the chair next to me, Darren is standing behind her left shoulder and Tom is in a chair next to Holly.  There is a lovely flat screen TV mounted on the wall I front of us, where we’ll see the ultrasound images.

First, the ultrasound tech (a man BTW) wants to get a view from the top.  He warns me this will be uncomfortable because he’s basically going to have to squish all my organs out of the way to see anything.  I say, no problem, I can take it – but I’m thinking “can my bladder?”  He starts pushing down hard trying to find a sac in there.  He sees two sacs, but one appears empty, which is apparently not that unusual.  Holly is happy, but her emotions seem tempered somewhat seeing “just one” future baby.  The tech takes some measurements, and then decides to take a look from, well you know where.  I help the ultrasound tech place the wand in the proper place.  He scans around, suddenly confirming two “occupied” sacs and announces “and there are twins!”  Holly says “oh my god, I’m going to cry”.  Previously, one of the embryos was “hiding”, so the tech really had to maneuver that wand to get him/her on the screen.  When he finally got a decent image, the two occupied sacs and the surrounding uterus looked just like the face of an owl.  Hoot!  Hoot!  Holly is secretly videotaping all of this on her phone.  Apparently you’re not allowed to record these things because the clinic doesn’t want evidence that could be used against them.  Yeah, whatever!  The tech then goes on to measure their heartbeats, and Holly secretly records that too.  Everything looks normal.  Holly is now sobbing, and I am too.  We are all now crying, oh I mean just us girls ;-)

Two small embryos forming

Now at this early stage of the game we are unsure if both embryos implanted or if one of them split.  The odds of an embryo splitting is higher when they’ve been frozen.  So the likelihood that both implanted and both split was pretty high.  I could have been pregnant with quads!  I’m happy and relieved to see that there are “only” two babies in there.  It was quite possible I could have had a litter!  Whew!  But we won’t know until later if they are identical or fraternal.

Friday, August 5, 2016

(8) Definitely Maybe?

It’s finally Monday morning, so I head to my local OBGYN’s office for my 9am appointment.   I’m having my blood drawn to check my hCG reading.  For legal reasons, they are not allowed to tell me the results, even though I’m the one who is potentially pregnant!  I actually have to wait for them to contact Holly, and then wait for Holly to call me with the results.  Whatever.  The blood draw happens quickly, but as morning turns to afternoon, I’m still anxiously waiting to hear the results from Holly.  Those doctors sure can take their sweet time!  In an earlier email, Holly said any hCG reading over 25 mIU/mL means I’m pregnant, and anything over 100 mIU/mL means it’s a strong pregnancy.  Finally, just after 2pm Holly called me with the results.  My hCG number is 1185!  Whoa.  Oh yeah, I’m definitely pregnant.  I knew it all along!  I gave those two blastocysts some prime real-estate, so why wouldn’t at least one of them want to make a home in there?!  Holly is beyond pumped with these results.  She would have been happy with a reading of 75, but a number over a thousand in her mind is just icing on the cake with sprinkles, lots and lots of sprinkles.  She says the doctors usually want this number to double after 48 hours.  But they said a 48 hour reading of 1700 would make them perfectly happy. 

On Tuesday, Tom flew to Phoenix for a seminar.  Guess what that means?  I get to give myself my PIO shots for the next three nights.  Yaaaay, no sarcasm I swear!  Well, before Tom left I practiced doing it myself, with him there in case I couldn’t handle it.  It actually wasn’t too bad, just awkward to bend around and stick a syringe in my butt.  But I wouldn’t want to do it from now on (about 50 more injections to go!).  We’ve been alternating cheeks to help minimize the discomfort, and it’s been working so far…  Holly did offer to come over and do it for me, but since we’ve been adjusting the time to around 9pm and she lives in Washington, I didn’t want to make her drive all that way.  I sucked it up and did it.

On Wednesday, I head back to the OGBYN for another blood draw.  Again it’s another long wait for the results!  Geeze!  Holly finally called them to get the results.  You would think they would be in more of a hurry for these ladies.  I mean come on!  Women obviously go to a fertility specialist because they need help getting pregnant.  They are desperate to be mammas.  Why would you put off telling them, especially when it’s good news!  Fortunately, the news was good.  Actually great!  My hCG number more than doubled to 2746! 

Even before “transfer day”, I had a gut feeling that I’d be carrying twins for Holly and Darren.  With hCG numbers as high as mine, it’s a pretty good indication that I’ve got two or more little babes growing in me.  Now I’m experiencing multiple emotions flowing through me all at once: excitement, anxiety, joy, anticipation, and appreciation.   I think Holly and Darren feel the same way.  I’m beyond excited that this is going as planned.  But I also realize this is really early and I’ve got about 36 more weeks to go!  I’m anxious to see the first ultrasound to see how many babies we have.  With frozen embryo transfers, the possibilities of one or both of the blastocysts splitting into two are higher.  YIKES!  The joy is an understandable emotion, and is very contagious when Holly is around.  The anticipation of what is to come sometimes seems unbearable.  Finally, I feel an appreciation that I live in a time where this is even possible, and that I’ve been given this opportunity to help a friend.  The fact that science can help bring children into this world in this way is just amazing to me.

I’m still having none of the usual pregnancy side-effects.  Okay, maybe my breasts are a little more sensitive, but nothing else obvious.  I’ve always been one of those lucky women who don’t experience morning sickness.  So I can’t even get excited about throwing up, because I just won’t.  Lucky me! 

With these encouraging hCG numbers, sticking that needle in the butt every night seems more important than ever.  Yay for Progesterone!  Now I actually look forward to our 8pm “appointment” every night.  Well, not really.  What I’m REALLY looking forward to is our first ultrasound, scheduled less than two weeks from now.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

(7) Pee and Tears with a Bear and a Beaver!

It’s 5 am on Friday April 4, eight days after the transfer.  I awoke from a restless night, nervous about my impending home pregnancy test.  Over the last 8 days, I’ve experienced no symptoms -- at least none that I detected.  As I prepare for the “TEST”, I notice that I’m actually shaking with nervous energy and excitement.  It goes fairly smoothly.  Well, as smoothly as it can go peeing into a cup being held with unsteady hands!  I dip the first stick into the cup.  This is way easier than trying to pee on it.  Holly gave me two fairly expensive home test kits, and I also bought a cheap $1 dollar test, because why not?!  After dipping one expensive stick and one budget stick, I wait the allotted time and then nervously look at the screens.  HOLY CRAP!  I AM PREGNANT!  They both come up positive, so I’m pretty sure about this.  I feel like my instincts have been correct all along.  My gut had been telling me since last November that “this will work”!  The tears of joy start flowing.  I go upstairs to show Tom.  I’m crying with the test in my hand.  At first he’s unsure of whether I’m crying happy tears or the other kind, until I show him the positive (II) mark.  We hug it out because Tom doesn’t cry (he’s a man…)!  So I continue to cry the happy tears for the both of us.  Tom was happy too, but it suddenly struck him that this was really happening.  Becky is pregnant, with someone else’s baby!

I grab my phone and take a picture of the pregnancy test.

Welp, it looks like I'm pregnant
It’s about 5:30am now, and I send a text to Holly with the results.  15 minutes go by with no response, then 30 minutes.  Still nothing!  So I text Darren since I knew he would be at work.  I inform him he’s going to be a daddy with this picture.  I also tell him that Holly hasn’t responded yet.

I just woke up okay!

Darren tells me she had taken a sleeping pill the prior evening, so that could explain Holly not responding.  A few minutes later my phone rings.  It’s Holly, sobbing with happiness.  We are both crying together and dreaming of the future.   She asked me if I took both of the tests she gave me.  I said ”no” but told her about the 2nd positive result on dollar store test.  She is overjoyed, but still a little cautious.  This still could be a false positive.  But remember, B positive!  Because my transfer happened on a Thursday, day 10 (blood test day) lands on a Sunday.  So my hCG blood test is scheduled for Monday.  Holly is not happy about waiting that extra day, but there’s not much more we can do unless we want to pay extra $$ for a Sunday draw at OHSU.  We decide to wait.

For Tom and me, the wait was fairly easy.  We spent the weekend at the scenic Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA, compliments of Holly and Darren.  They wanted to give us a relaxing break from all the stress of preparing and finally doing the transfer.  The trip will be a happy trip because of the positive test result.  They scheduled a couple’s massage for us, which was lovely.  We also took an easy hike around the golf course, officially giving my passenger(s) their first hiking experience.  Just before we left on Sunday, we looked around the gift shop.  I wanted to get something for Holly and Darren.  After much deliberation, I chose two stuffed animals for the babies to be.  I chose two because I just had this gut feeling that both stuck.  I chose a little stuffed bear, because it was cute.  The second was a stuffed beaver because it’s Kaela’s school mascot.  Go Beavs!

Monday cannot come soon enough!