Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holiday rundown

This will be brief since I am still a-vacationing, but here's my holiday, by the numbers:

49: The number of hours I spent staying alone at my mother-in-law's house because my husband was supposed to fly via Denver and got delayed by two days instead.

183: The number of farts I have emitted in the greater LA area in the past few days. I would particularly like to apologize to those of you who may have been shopping on the Third St.reet Prom.enade on Christmas Eve; if you wandered into a rank miasma, that may have been left behind by me.

7: The number of times I think I may have felt the little feller move inside my belly. I think I'm finally feeling that "goldfish" sensation that people cite.

Okay, this last one doesn't fit neatly into the numbering conceit, but I definitely have a belly now. If you didn't know me, you might think it could be a burrito gut, but if you did know me, you'd definitely think I look pregnant. My belly popped out in the past week or so. My husband immediately noticed it when he arrived two (2) days late after we'd been apart for a week.

I hope you are all doing well!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

He who suffers remembers.

That's what my fortune cookie said last night. Nice, eh?

I had my appointment and ultrasound today with the UCSF people. The prenatal genetics doctor was reassuring overall: she said that they see a few instances of mos.aic tri.somy 20 each year, and her feeling was that if a detailed ultrasound showed no structural abnormalities, then the chances of a birth defect would be closer to that of the general population (4%ish) and not 10%. The ultrasound came back fine (and no clubfoot!), which was a huge relief, especially as the doctor doing it did not speak until she was done with the entire thing. My baby doesn't move much at all - he seems constantly to be asleep - but I will worry about that later.

The next thing to do would be an echocardiogram, which I may do when I get back home - this would just confirm no structural abnormalities of the heart. And I should get regular ultrasounds to check that the growth is okay. As of right now, the baby measures on track or maybe slightly ahead of dates. I would be happy to get frequent ultrasounds, so that is fine with me.

And the icing on the cake was that my insurance agreed to cover this visit - I had to keep going up the chain, but finally I traded messages with someone who agreed that it was necessary and that they would cover it (instead of trying to make me fly back home). I would have gone ahead with the appointment regardless, but I'm sure my adventures today cost at least a thousand clams, so it was nice to get official approval.

All in all, a good day! I will try to be optimistic, even though this might require a personality transplant.

Thanks for all of your kind wishes!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The 5% Nation, Continued

Thanks for all of your posts below - they really mean a lot to me. I now have an appointment tomorrow at UCSF with the main prenatal genetics doctor, and then I have a level II ultrasound there as well. I was impressed that I got in there so quickly - either my doctor is very important or I am in a bad situation. I am assuming the former. Or, more realistically, he probably told the UCSF people that I am neurotic and high-maintenance and would likely spontaneously combust if I couldn't get some more information. We'll see.

It is difficult to be rational. Like, I know the chances are much better than not that things will be okay. One of my friends took her son to the pediatrician today (a very experienced, in-demand doctor) and she asked about trisomy 20 mosai.cism. He said that in 20 years, he'd never seen it actually happen - ie, people get the bad result on their amnios, then the kids are fine. But it is so hard for me to feel reassured by that, you know? And I know that this would probably come up in plenty of people who never have amnios, and thus never know. But it is still anxiety-inducing.

I was supposed to have lunch and go walking with a pregnant friend of mine today, but she had her baby a couple of days ago (two weeks early). I still went walking (running, even!), which was lovely, but I have since returned to the friend's house where I am staying and have basically been napping, crying, and consulting Dr. Google, who doesn't have as much info as I'd like.

Another thing that concerns me is that I can't feel this kid move yet, I don't think. I know there's a range of when people feel movement, but I know so many people who have felt it way earlier than this. I guess I'll find out more tomorrow.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Five Percent Nation of Casiotone

The title is a reference to a lyric in a Soul Coughing song that keeps going through my head. Why? Because the 5% of a bad outcome seems to be where I continue to fall. I think Beth had a post to this effect on her blog.

So fewer than 5% of couples need IVF. Fewer than 5% of pregnant women get hyperemesis. We know where I/we fell there.

Now let me tell you that FISH results are supposed to account for 95% of the things that can be wrong with your baby as shown by the amnio.

Guess who's got that last-5% abnormal result? Us. 20% of our baby's cells have tri.somy 20 mosai.cism. Could mean nothing, could mean a bunch of terrible things. The chances are that nothing is wrong, but there's a 5-10% chance that something is wrong - it could be heart, kidneys, brain. It's hard for me to be optimistic.

I am away from home for two weeks. The doctor is trying to get me an appointment at UCSF tomorrow or the next day for a detailed ultrasound to see if any issues appear there, but of course they might not be able to see if anything is wrong, since what's wrong could be invisible for now.

I am so tired of being on the wrong side of the odds. I was just starting to feel happy and confident in this pregnancy, and now this. If they can't see anything wrong on the ultrasound, I am still going to worry for the next five months - and probably longer, since whatever's wrong (if something is wrong) could take a while to show up.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Taking care of business (or not)

I realize that it's bad enough when an infertile blogger gets pregnant and starts complaining about side effects of pregnancy and posting belly shots, but surely it must be worse when that blogger starts describing her shits in detail.

But so it is.

Dear readers, although I was still constipated by the Z0fran, I felt that it and I had reached a sort of detente: the Z0fran would let me nominally move my bowels once a day, and I would deal with the fact that said movements were somewhat painful and, frankly, stingy. And, over time, with the help of more and more C0lace, those craps were at least less injurious than they had been - sure, there would be some straining, but no longer did I feel as if I were giving birth from an inappropriate location. Until yesterday.

I don't know what the problem was. I try to eat a lot of fiber, even though I don't know if it makes a bit of difference when confronted with the awesome constipating power of Z0fran. It was true that I had experienced a bit of a nausea relapse and temporarily re-upped my dosage, so maybe that had something to do with my issue. Maybe that panini that I ate with local reader MSF a couple of days ago just had too much goddamned starch in it. Whatever the case, I found myself on the toilet yesterday. For forty-five minutes. As a turd got STUCK while I tried to get it out of my tortured ass.

Nothing worked. Not straining, not relaxing, not trying to stress myself out in the hopes that my good old nervous stomach would return. Not reading an entire issue of the alumni magazine, not praying, not cursing, not primally screaming, not even weeping (for, yes, a few tears were shed). I even resorted to more desperate measures that one can read about on hyperemesis message boards; no dice. I felt I might simply have to take up residence on the toilet while the concrete marbles and gravity battled it out. My husband would be home in just five short hours, and the dog had water in his dish. We could all live, right?

Finally, as I was considering whether dying was really such a bad alternative, I was saved by gas: a few bubbles percolated downward and shoved out the recalcitrant turd. I almost passed out from the effort. My poor, beleagured sphincter was so pummeled that every time I farted (and, hey, pregnant women fart) later on, it felt like a rubber band snapping against a sunburn.

Needless to say, to my normal evening cocktail of C0lace and various drugs, I added a double shot of Milk of Magnesia with a water chaser. Also, upon my release from the Abu Ghra1b of elimination, I immediately checked the baby's heartbeat with my rented doppler to make sure that he hadn't been rendered unconscious by the passing of a nearby piece of concrete.

Today was better, but I remain scarred by the experience. An elective c-section suddenly looks rather appealing.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Old wives' tales, analyzed

Warning: belly shots appear later in this post.

Now, onto the topic of the title: old wives' tales, specifically those about gender prediction. Let's see how they did.

1. Higher heart rate = girl; lower heart rate = boy.

Clearly, the old wives failed me here. The heart rate of my little alien has consistently been on the high side - 150-160. I guess he's just high-strung like his mother.

2. Good skin = boy; bad skin = girl.

Give this one to the old wives. My skin has been very clear since BFP. Now, my skin isn't, say, as prone to eruptions as a teenaged fry cook's, but I do get a zit here and there. This isn't to say I look radiant - I am still as pasty as ever.

3. Morning sickness = either boy or girl, depending upon whom you ask.

I'd always heard that more morning sickness meant a girl, the theory being that you have more female hormones wreaking havoc on your body (which I think is the same idea behind #2). But some people swear that, no, it's boys that make morning sickness worse. I do know that with hyperemesis, girls are statistically more likely, though not by a huge amount (56% vs. 44% or so). So who knows how to score this one.

4. Craving for sweets = girl; craving for salty foods = boy

The old wives are clearly not to be trusted. I have heavily preferred sweets (during those times when I have been able to eat) to salty foods, although I do occasionally yearn for "all natural" cheet.os (those white puffy ones in a paper-ish bag).

I think that about covers it. Any other classics you've heard?

I continue to feel better, though not well. I am down to 16mg a day of Z0fran, but I still can't take a shit. On Friday, we went to my office holiday party, and I felt awful afterwards, although one can't help but guess that the all-fried menu (and my joyous embrace of it) might have had something to do with it. Chicken fingers, potato skins, etc. - mmmmmmm. I would have eaten 10 mozzarella sticks, too, if they'd had 'em.

Anyway, here are some belly shots - both at 17 weeks. One shows the bare belly, and the other gives you an idea of how I've been trying to camouflage it with clothes. Both pictures feature my new fleece yoga pants from Victo.ria's Se.cret - one of my friends told me these were all she'd worn in late pregnancy (well, she'd had the classic version, but it's cold here, so I went for fleece). I never ordered any since, well, I was never pregnant, but now that I have some, I can tell you that they would be PERFECT for day six onward of stims during a fresh IVF cycle. If only I'd known.

SHOT #1: The goods

SHOT #2: Incognito (sort of)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Results, round one

The FISH results are back and the baby doesn't have Down syndrome or some other trisomies (15 and 18, I think; or maybe it was 13 and 18), nor any X or Y issues. And he is really a he.

I had my regular OB appointment yesterday and all seemed well then - heartbeat was chortling along at 154, and my blood pressure was something like 116 over 70, so pretty good, if a bit higher than my normal blood pressure. The OB does think I am "THE" prime candidate for postpartum depression (thank you very much) so she's twisting arms to get me into meet with this very in-demand combo OBGYN/psychiatrist who focuses on infertility and PPD. The hospital clearly needs about five of that woman.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Modest fetus

I had my amnio and ultrasound today. The baby had its legs crossed over its groin (and its hands over its face), but the ultrasound tech got some glimpse that made her think it's a boy. The FISH results will be back in two days, and those will tell us definitively. The full amnio results will be back in two weeks.

The baby looks more like a baby than a peanut now - he had real arms and legs and a little nose. He doesn't seem to move all that much, although he did flip over between the initial ultrasound and the one they did in conjunction with the amnio. He is one cute little feller.

Remember how I said I'd stop worrying if the amnio results came back fine? Well, I can already tell you that that is a lie. You see, the only thing the doctor didn't like on the ultrasound was the baby's feet - he wants another ultrasound in three to four weeks to check for clubfoot. He said it's early, and also the baby's position kept him from telling whether there was an issue there, but of course I will now worry about this. At least clubfoot is correctable. But it would nice to have no known issues for once. I will focus on retaining my excellent health insurance in the meantime.

The amnio itself was no big deal. I had the head of the maternal-fetal medicine group perform it, and I definitely felt like I was in great hands. It was short and practically painless - less painful than your average, well-executed blood draw - and the needle is inside this stabilizing contraption that keeps you from actually seeing its full length. Anyway, we'll now hope that no complications follow, and that the amnio results come back perfect.

I hope you are all doing well!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Week in Review; The Week Ahead

Thank you all for your posts below. I compiled the happy-ending brain-cancer stories and sent them to a friend who's kind of the point person for conveying info on my friend who just had surgery. They'll get the final path report on the tumor this week, which will then dictate treatment (and likely outcomes). I am keeping my fingers crossed that the news is as good (or as not-bad) as possible.

In other news, I found a dead mouse in our house this week. We have a bathroom that is off of our kitchen, and it contains a shower that never gets used since there are bathrooms right off of the bedrooms in our house. We do use this bathroom for quite a lot of peeing, however. But we never open the shower door - for reference, it's one of those hard-shell, frosted-glass varieties. Anyway, I went swimming one day this week (in my normal bathing suit, which was abruptly rendered nearly obscene since my tubby middle caused the high leg holes to ride up even higher, necessitating board shorts), and I figured I'd hang up my wet towel and swimsuit in the kitchen bathroom. I threw the towel over the shower shell, and, planning to hang my suit over the showerhead, I opened the door. There on the drain was a dead mouse (fortunately, a freshly dead mouse). I yelled, "Ack!" and then "Goddamn it!" (why not "Fuck?" Hmm.) and slammed the door shut. I considered getting rid of the mouse myself, but instead I just shut the door to the bathroom and waited for my husband to come home. Normally, I am the bug-killer in our family, but somehow I didn't feel prepared to be the varmint-disposer. A pest specialist visited the next day and posited that this mouse was a lone ranger, but he set up a bunch of traps anyway. I guess I should be glad I went swimming (which I rarely do) and thus discovered the mouse before he started to rot. But I also panicked about the disarray of our house. This weekend, I have undertaken an MCI (massive cleaning initiative). It is about 4 degrees outside, so I might as well be doing something indoors.

On another topic, I was emailing with an online buddy this week - we had our FETs the same day. I was saying that I was using the Bell.a Band a bunch now, and she said I should just go for maternity pants - that I'd wonder why I hadn't done so sooner. Well, the big box of stuff from my friend arrived this week, and I made the mistake of trying on some of the maternity jeans. Holy moly - I am almost afraid I'll never wear anything but elastic-waisted pants again! So comfortable. I am going to try, however, to continue wearing my stretchier normal pants and the Bell.a Band for two more weeks at work - easier to remain undercover that way. Then I'll be off for a month and no one will see me. I can then make a dramatic reentry in January, looking like a beach ball.

My amnio is on Wednesday this week. I asked for FISH results (in addition to the main ones), which you get sooner than the amnio results, which take two weeks. I learned about this on the Internets, and I am very willing to pay $524 that could otherwise be used on pest control or housecleaning services or Christmas gifts, just so that I don't have to suffer in limbo. Also, my amnio results should be back around Dec. 21, so I was afraid I'd be getting bad news right in the middle of the holidays. I keep saying I'll act more normal and confident in this pregnancy if the amnio comes back good, but I will probably be insane until the very end. They are going to do the level II ultrasound at the same time as the amnio, I think, so I do hope to know gender that day. If not, it will come back with the amnio results.