Being PGaL

This is me. I am PGaL, or pregnant after a loss.

I would guess that, for a lot of people, being pregnant is a time of joy, happiness and carefree ignorance. For someone who is pregnant after a previous miscarriage, pregnancy is scary, uncertain, nerve-racking and just plain un-fun. Not all the time, of course, but some to most of the time.

When I was pregnant last time, I had no idea what to expect or what any statistics about pregnancy are. I didn’t know that at least 25% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage. I didn’t know that after seeing and hearing your babys heart, you could still lose them. I didn’t know that your baby could stop growing, and your body would have no idea, so it would continue on like s/he was still alive.

This time around, I do know all of that. I know it all too well. And it is frightening. And un-fun. I am worried every single day about how our LO is doing. Is s/he still wiggling, growing, beating? Sitting in the waiting room before ultrasounds is hard. I get so nervous that it throws off my blood pressure readings. Sometimes I have to do them twice. I can’t help it. I remember what was supposed to be our final RE visit, and not seeing the flickering on the screen that was supposed to be there. I can’t help but worry that we’ll see that again.

I have had 7 ultrasounds this pregnancy. Yes, 7! And before each appointment at least one of the thoughts in my head was “I’ve definitely lost this one”. Even when I had just seen LO wiggling like crazy the day before. Because it never goes away. I will worry about this baby until the day I die. Even though I am fast approaching the second trimester, when most people feel it is safe to tell others because your miscarriage risk goes way down, I will still worry. Even when I get to the first viability milestone, I will still worry. Even when I get to the point where baby can survive with little to no machines outside my body, I will still worry. Nothing is guaranteed in life, and especially not in pregnancy. I have been taught this lesson, and I will not take a single day for granted.

 

On to happier things. We went in yesterday to try and do an NT scan, which measures fluid at the base of the neck and can help determine the risk of downs. Alas, baby was measuring a bit too small to do a proper scan, though the ultrasound tech said that it didn’t look like it was going to be too big. David did say that s/he was wiggling around a lot, only I didn’t get to see because the screen was facing away from me. 😦 I got to see at the very end, but was more focused on seeing that heart than watching him/her move around. I’ll go back in a few weeks to try again. I will now begin a normal person appointment schedule of going in once every four weeks until around the 6 month mark. It’ll be weird having such a long time in between appointments, but I can’t be pampered the whole time!

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10 Weeks

 

shoe-pic

A tiny pair of shoes!

How cute.

The Story:

I haven’t posted an update in quite a while. During our last FET, I shared nearly everything in real time. It was hard to share news of a miscarriage, so this time around I wanted to not share as much as soon. Last time I wrote, we had done our transfer and were waiting for a blood test to see if it worked or not. I went in on August 7th, and got the call a few hours later that it had worked and I was pregnant. We were elated, but also scared. It didn’t work last time, so we had to keep our emotions in check, just in case it didn’t work again. I went in again two days later for a second draw, and it had just more than doubled, which is what they like to see. Unfortunately, my body had had a difficult time processing the progesterone injections, so I had to increase my dosage after a large drop. It had me worried, but I trusted that my doctor knew what he was doing. I went back in a week after my first beta, and my number had increased by a substantial amount, which eased my fears a bit.

We went in for our first ultrasound on August 19th, and got to see our lovely little embryo safe and sound in me. We did not see or hear a heartbeat, but at just shy of 6 weeks, that was to be expected. It was just too early to see much. We have been back every week since on either Thursday or Friday, and getting to see our little one (LO) continue to grow and develop properly was amazing. Last time around, our embryo consistently measured behind. This time, this LO is either measuring right on time, or a day or two ahead, which is so comforting.

We went to our new obstetrician for the first time on September 15th and she was wonderful. I got to pick who we saw, so I chose the doctor that did our D&C as she was so kind and helpful. I’m glad we waited the few extra days to see her, as she remembered us and was again so kind and helpful. We got to see LO again that day, and this time s/he was waving her/his little arm buds at us. It was amazing to watch! It was also the first time David got to hear the heartbeat, as he had been working for the previous two appointment and couldn’t come with. Yesterday was our last official appointment at SCRC. It was a little bittersweet, and I got a lovely graduation gift. While we are thankful that they were so wonderful in the two years we were with them, I’m glad that my insurance is finally kicking in and all our Kaiser appointments should be free or cheap.

The Pregnancy Symptoms:

I started out like most people: no idea I was pregnant. I thought for sure this cycle didn’t work because I didn’t feel any different. Then 5 weeks came, and I got symptoms. A lot of them. The two most prominent were fatigue and hunger. Then, at just after 6 weeks, they stopped. Completely. For 4 days in a row. I thought I had definitely had another missed miscarriage, but at my appointment that week, we saw LO had grown by the exact number of days s/he should have. Relief washed over me, and I again began to trust. And then suffer. Since about 7 weeks, I have had non stop symptoms, which on the one hand sucks, but on the other assures me that I am still pregnant. My most obvious symptoms now are: all day nausea, hunger like none other (I have to eat at least 7 times a day, and not always tiny snacks), fatigue and tenderness. I’d say that nowadays, most days I sleep for at least an hour and half, plus however much I sleep at night. I try to go to bed by about 10:15, and I am usually woken up by 6:30 by a hungry alien screaming “breakfast time”.

Why I am sharing now:

I’d say most people generally wait until after 12 weeks to share pregnancy news with the masses, yet I am only 10 today, so why share now? I felt that if both appointments this week went well, the likelihood of something bad happening was relatively slim. And both appointments went great this week, so I now feel comfortable sharing. Plus, now I can start posting about it a bit more, instead of only being able to tell a few people.

What’s next:

I’m going to have another appointment at Kaiser to measure some baby stuffs, which should be within the next three weeks, as this scan has to be done before week 13. If it goes well, we will choose to skip an amnio or CVS due to the miscarriage risks. If all does not go well, we’ll discuss with our doctor which test would be best to use. We can’t yet know at this point which test we’d do, though if we want to do the CVS we’d have to do it before 12 weeks, which is fast approaching. Though we used a lot of science and doctor to get us to this point, that doesn’t mean we have to continue to do so. If things progress normally, I’d say we have a good chance of having a normal number of doctors visits.

My conclusion:

Infertility has been a challenging, rocky, obstacle-filled road. I’m very thankful that I’ve had David to traverse it with, as he has been wonderful throughout this whole process. Sure, all he really had to do was one blood draw and give a few samples (okay, like 13ish), but I’ve read of some men who were/are unwilling to do that for as long as they can. David was on the ball right from the start and never hesitated when it was up to him alone to do something. I know we’re not fully out of the woods yet (you never really are, kids can die at any time, be it 20 weeks gestation, just before birth, or when they turn 5), but I have every confidence that raising a kid together is going to be a piece of cake after what we’ve been through to get one.