Still Truckin’ (update)

**pregnancy mentioned**

I wrote a clever post and stupid wordpress erased it. 

First, thank you to the lovely ladies who nominated me for the Inspirational Blogger Award–I’m flattered and excited and looking forward to nominating so many blogs that I love! 

Second, I want to tell you about our epic trip to the Pacific Northwest, complete with pictures.

But…

To be honest, morning sickness is kicking my ass–I thought people were over dramatizing the experience but this sh*t is no joke. How do people work like this? Or care for an existing child? I’m baffled. So I haven’t written because we’ve been on vacation and any little bit of energy I had I tried to spend doing stuff with Mr. MLACS. But we got home yesterday and I was anxious to have bloodwork and an ultrasound, so I called Dr. Angel and he graciously accommodated us today (my appointment was for Wednesday).

I peeled myself out of bed and wore my pajamas (covered in cat hair) and didn’t shower or brush my teeth, and I grabbed my trusty sprite from the fridge (not gingerale, 7 up, or sierra mist–SPRITE ONLY) and flung myself into Mr. MLACS’s truck. We got there and I just wanted to lay down, like, on the floor of the waiting room. But there were people there and I had to fill out my “new OB patient” paperwork (even though I’m not “new” there). I half-assed it and then the nurse took us to a room and handed me a gown–apparently a new OB appointment entails a breast exam and papsmear…I had forgotten as it has been 15 months since I’ve been an OB patient. I put the gown on and began to pace…I felt queasy…and then resolutely went to the lavatory and sacrificed my sprite to the porcelain gods. After that Dr. Angel entered the room. I took a deep breath as he “launched” the dildocam…Long(er) story short:

Measuring 8w1d  (a day ahead)

Heartrate 168 bpm

We are still in business! It is surreal to think that I might actually be *legit* pregnant.I’m still afraid, despite the morning sickness (all day sickness) and the measurements, but today’s news was comforting. I don’t even care that I can’t eat anything but gluten-free  pizza or that I am so disgusted with the aroma of my bath & bodyworks wallflower airfresheners that I chucked them as far as I could throw them. I hardly notice the bruises on my stomach from the Heparin injections or the constant oozing from the 4 progesterone suppositories I take daily! No big deal!

Because right NOW, I am the most pregnant I’ve ever been. 6 weeks ago when I had my IUI #6 I couldn’t imagine myself 8 weeks pregnant! It’s wild how quickly things can change. I’m thinking of my ladies who are out there working hard toward this goal, and I’m sending you hope and strength to keep on truckin’.

Must end this post and go barf. Again.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

Sick in Seattle

**pregnancy mentioned**

Quick update:

The first part of our vacation (Port Townsend, WA & the wedding) was awesome & I’ll blog about it more when we get home.

But Mr. MLACS was sick while we were in Port Townsend–he called it “allergies”, which he has a history so I bought into that theory.

Until yesterday.

I was exhausted after all the wedding activities and fell asleep early on Sunday. Woke up around 3:30am and my throat felt like it was *on fire*. I snacked on some organic Ranier cherries (fruit of the gods and indigenous to Washington). Fell back asleep. Woke up around 7am, throat still hurting. Mr. MLACS was sleeping on the couch so I could rest (bless his heart). He asked me if I was ok, and I told him I didn’t feel good.

I was, in fact, terrified. Monday marked 7w0d for this pregnancy. And my first miscarriage began with a trip to urgent care 2 days prior to the miscarriage, because my throat hurt and I felt awful & thought I had strep throat. I was 7w0d when I became ill and 7w2d when I miscarried.

So yeah, I was kind of freaking out.

But Mr. MLACS noted that I had been snoring “like a lumberjack”, and I noted that I had a lot of *TMI* clear snot running down the back of my throat & some out my nose, which may well have been allergies or a poor adjustment to the *cold* weather (it was only like 50° at night and high 60’s during the day). So I didn’t have a full-on panic attack because the sore throat could be explained.

Then I started to feel nauseous…which this is not new for me but it was miserable. I managed to fall back asleep for a little while. Then woke up and showered, the whole time wondering if I was going to vomit.

Finally, I knew it was coming–my first ever up-chuck of pregnancy (never happened before). It was all the snot that had been draining into my stomach. I felt a little better for like 5 minutes.

Then I needed some crackers to settle my stomach. We packed up our stuff into the rented ford escape and headed to Safeway hoping to find gluten-free crackers.

*Side note, being gluten-free is much trickier during pregnancy. You can’t just stuff the nearest carbs in your mouth when you start to feel sick. And I have a lot of food aversions, which further narrows my options.

I was feeling so sick on the way to Safeway that I couldn’t even talk. I finally ripped open the crackers Mr. MLACS brought me and I hated the first ones. The second ones were edible so I managed to get 3 of them down and chased them with sprite.

Then we took a long, twisted mountain road to Sheldon, WA to see Mr. MLACS’s friend (more on him later). Along the way I had to stop at a tiny general store in an RV park and go #2. And can I just tell you: I didn’t know it was possible to simultaneously be constipated *and* have diarrhea. It IS possible. Unfortunately the general store did not sell preparation H, but it is now on my list of “must haves”.

Finally we got to the friend’s place, where I barfed again–outside in nature (his bathroom reeked of marijuana and I could hardly stand it).

Then we got in the car to go to Seattle. My lower back and legs hurt SO BAD I just couldn’t get comfortable. Stretching didn’t help. I was nauseous. My nose was a faucet and I kept wiping, blowing, and spitting to keep it from pooling in my stomach. I was a mess.

Then we had to get on a ferry. I am already prone to motion sickness. I am not ashamed to say I cried–it was awful. I hadn’t eaten anything, could hardly drink (was sipping sprite & sucking on ice cubes). And this is *with* the seaband anti-nausea bands on my wrists! And preggy pops! My back & legs were killing me. I was a mess.

We drove offthe ferry & found our hotel, and I vomited again in the parking lot. Mr. MLACS got me situated in the room & went to fetch something I might be able to eat. My back & legs were excruciating but I managed to fall asleep.

I woke up and my back & legs STILL hurt, and that’s when I realized I wasn’t just sore from the car ride. I was horribly DEHYDRATED and my body was robbing the muscles in the lower half of my body so that the *kukui* (our name for our seedling) and my internal organs could continue to function. I was relieved to know my body was doing what it’s supposed to do. But weary, because I still couldn’t drink much and wondered if I would be able to properly rehydrate.

I managed to eat some gluten-free cupcake (just cake, no frosting) that Mr. MLACS had brought to entice me. I ate ice cubes and drank about 1/2 a bottle of sprite and kept it all down, and magically my back and legs began to feel better.

This morning I woke up with a stuffy nose and realized that I have a head cold, and Mr. MLACS had given me his “allergies” (he actually had a cold). I felt like hammered sh*t.

So today Mr. MLACS has left twice to get us food–my food of choice is gluten-free chicken noodle soup. One good thing about having a cold is that I can’t taste or smell anything, so I’m not picky about food or dying because I can’t stand the smell of the hand soap (which I could smell last night and it was awful).

I haven’t left the hotel at all. I had intended to see all of Seattle and eat ALL the gluten-free food I could find. But instead I’m in a hotel room eating ice cubes, sprite, and chicken soup from a can.
It’s not what I had in-mind.

But I’ll take it. I’ll take every bit of nausea and fatigue and missed vacation.

Tomorrow (Wed) I will be 7w2d pregnant. It’s a scary time to feel as vulnerable as I do right now.

But if I can just make it to Thursday, I will officially be the most pregnant I have ever been. I am hoping and praying that my kukui is ok.

XOXO,
MLACS

Everything’s Ok

So it’s been a busy week. We are getting ready to go on our first real vacation (besides occasional weekend getaways) since our wedding in April 2012. I am a bridesmaid in a wedding that will take place in Port Townsend, a little harbor town a couple hours outside of Seattle. Then we’re going to Seattle. Then we’re going to Portland to visit Mr. MLACS’s brother (whom we haven’t seen since our wedding). I will tell you guys about it and post some pics when we get back.

Last night Mr. MLACS flew into the city a little early so that he could attend our ultrasound today–the viability ultrasound. I had carefully orchestrated plans for my trip to the city to fetch Mr. MLACS. First, I had to go to a CVS pharmacy and pick up a truckload of Endometrin progesterone suppositories (because like I’ve said, I have CVS Caremark insurance so it’s cheaper for me to get meds from CVS pharmacies, and we don’t have a CVS in my town so I go to the one in the city). Then I went to my old favorite, PF Chang’s for some gluten-free chicken lettuce wraps and gluten-free chicken fried rice. I sat at the bar and looked at my phone (looked at blog posts) and then it struck me…the last time I was at PF Chang’s, Mr. MLACS and I collected 3 fortuitous fortunes from the fortune cookies they serve at the end of the meal (click HERE to read this post). Well, I kind of thought to myself…really, what else could I want from PF Chang’s? I felt like I had already received more than my fair share of good fortunes, and I certainly didn’t want to get an ominous fortune on the night before our viability ultrasound. But then…I thought…I’d leave it to *chance*. And wouldn’t you know it–the server didn’t give me any fortune cookies! First time ever! I was totally relieved. And I’m not sure I’ll ever open another fortune cookie again.

I picked up Mr. MLACS from the airport and we were SO happy to see one another! I mean, just one day after we got our good news, he had to get on a plane and go back to work. I know it was torture for him not to be with me these past couple weeks, and it wasn’t easy for me with him gone.

 This morning we woke up and laid around before the ultrasound late-morning. I had asked Dr. Angel’s receptionist if he likes peach cobbler, and she said no, that he would prefer fresh fruit, particularly pineapple. So we stopped by the grocery store and I got a mixed fruit platter (with lots of pineapple) to bring to Dr. Angel. We walked in and were immediately escorted to the imaging room. Which was warm. And I was nervous. So it made me queasy. Finally Dr. Angel arrived and it was “go” time, and I saw an image pop up on the screen but I couldn’t hear a heartbeat.

I nervously asked Dr. Angel “What do you see? Is it ok? Is there a heartbeat?” because I thought it would just all magically appear on the screen at once and would be obvious. However, it took him a minute to sharpen the image of my uterus. As the seconds passing felt like hours, I began to panic that maybe it wasn’t there…that it was all over…

But then, Dr. Angel said “Do you hear that?” And I could hear the familiar “whoosh whoosh whoosh” sound–but I was not satisfied. Frantically I asked “How many beats per minute?”

And he measured…

And it said…

127 BPM

And I began to cry…I placed my hand over my mouth to choke back sobs that wanted to rise from my chest…Mr. MLACS patted my other hand and handed me a tissue.

Dr. Angel said everything is measuring perfectly (I didn’t even think to ask precisely what day I’m measuring at–today is 6w3d gestationally). I was just overwhelmed with emotion when I realized that everything is ok.

I cannot remember the last time that everything was ok.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

 

Solid News

So to report: there is a sac, a yolk sac, and fetal pole at 5w4d

Both myself and Dr. Angel were very pleased. My younger sister went with me since Mr. MLACS is working out of the country, and bless her heart, she was excited and squealed when the image popped up on the screen. I feel kind of bad, but I told her to be quiet because I was holding my breath until Dr. Angel identified the 3 components we were looking for. I exhaled when he found them and said they measured correctly (so far).

Interestingly, we had discussed using Heparin even though I have not shown to have one of the common clotting disorders. Do you know how we came to this decision? Dr. Angel *had a dream* last night that I should be on Heparin. Since four of my female friends in the last couple of months have all dreamed I was having a baby (including a friend who called during the TWW of this cycle to ask if I was pregnant)…I am a believer of dreams. Dr. Angel still waffled, but I said to him “What does your gut tell you? Real quick, just listen to what it says and that is our answer.” And his gut said Heparin–because sometimes, for whatever reason, it prevents loss in women who’ve had repeat miscarriages and have not tested positive for any *known* clotting disorders. Case-in-point, he currently has a patient who had 3 consecutive miscarriages, and is now 34 weeks pregnant with twins–they decided she should take Heparin, and now she is due to give birth to two healthy babies. Is it the Heparin that made the difference for her and so many other unexplained RPL ladies? Who knows. But I can tell you this: *My ass will be taking the damn Heparin* Two injections daily–and I will do it with a smile.

Also, Dr. Diet is PISSED that I refuse to go back to his office for my pregnancy to be claimed in his statistics. But here’s what–that m*therf*cker could have cost me this pregnancy. Because:

1. My progesterone at 15dpo was 11.5 and the *lowest* within range for pregnancy is 9. And this SOB did not prescribe progesterone. I said to the nurse “Surely he wants me to begin taking my suppositories” and her answer was “Nope, he signed off on it”. For this alone, I would like to claw his eyes out. He is a Reproductive *Endocrinologist*, a person who specializes in hormones, in particular of women who are dealing with infertility. Low progesterone is a COMMON cause of pregnancy loss. HOW COULD HE BE SO CARELESS? I was and am stunned.

2. My TSH at 15dpo had already crept up to 2.3 *even though I take a hefty dose of Synthroid*. The upper limit of “normal” for conception and pregnancy is 2.5–he is an RE, there is no f*cking way he is unaware of this fact. But yet, his nurse told me he said it was “Fine”. Well, I started having symptoms. And also, hypothyroid definitely played a role in my first loss *in fact* Hypothyroid is a COMMON cause of infertility and loss, and is easily fixed but must be closely monitored. Per Dr. Angel, the acceptable limit for a woman taking Synthroid already is 2.0, and they always increase the dose in early pregnancy *before* it gets out of hand–an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So again, HOW COULD DR. DIET BE SO STUPID?

If I wanted average care within the extremely wide and varied range of “acceptable” then I would go see a general practitioner, not waste my money at a *specialist’s* office. He had the nerve to leave me a condescending and bullying message on my voicemail. Then today, Dr. Angel said that Dr. Diet called him last night and yelled at him, in Dr. Angel’s words “Dr. Diet seems to have anger management issues”. All this from this assh*le, after he gave us that horrible and offensive IVF sales pitch. And furthermore, if it was up to him I wouldn’t have had this IUI at all, I would have handed him $10,000 for an IVF cycle in September. THE NERVE. I’m glad his ass is chapped. And when I feel like it, I’m going to send him a letter and tell him exactly what a horse’s ass he is and that that is why his *services are no longer needed*. Seriously, I feel violent about the fact that he could have cost me this pregnancy before it even had a chance. It’s awful that you can’t trust doctors–specialists–with something so important and delicate.

Ladies, if I can tell you one thing–BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE. Research and know your options. Don’t rely on your providers, because things slip through the cracks or some of them are not up-to-date about more advanced thought and methods, and most of all–many of us are special cases that they haven’t seen before and they don’t even know what to look for. Please, educate yourselves–it may be the difference between life or miscarriage.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

The *Untold* Story of IUI #6

So, I have some ‘xplaining to do…

I was feeling very depressed and *introverted* after failed IUI #5, which is one reason I didn’t blog about it. And I wasn’t planning to have this IUI #6–it was totally unmedicated and unmonitored–so it hardly seemed worth mentioning….

But let me stop babbling and give you the facts:

You recall the RE, Dr. Diet, had suggested we “take the summer off” and see him about IVF in September. Well…

I wanted to see if all the cysts leftover from failed IUI #5 were still there or dissipating, I don’t like Dr. Diet, and I missed Dr. Angel, so I asked Dr. Angel if I could come in for an ultrasound on cd16, which was a Friday. I had one follicle on my right ovary, measuring 15.5–I then proceeded to call Mr. MLACS and ask him to come home earlier than (the following) Friday because given my follicle size it looked like I would “O” maybe Tuesday or Wednesday. He was a jerk and got mad at me for asking, so I didn’t talk to him for the rest of the day.

Then Mr. MLACS called on cd17 (Saturday) and suggested I fly to rural Canada (where he works)–it would cost $2,000!!! I was like “Thanks but no way dude–not for one random egg–we should save that money for IVF”. We argued some more. At least he offered.

But then I got my positive OPK the following day on cd18 (Sunday) and it became a moot point (no time to travel to Canada and wait for him to get off work to dtd).

So the only reasonable alternative was to use the last vile of frozen sperm at Dr. Diet’s office, because we had already decided that we would do any future IUI’s with Dr. Angel, and for IVF we would go to CRA clinic in Colorado–so we were planning to “fire” Dr. Diet anyways and might as well use up our ‘reserves’. By doing the “natural” IUI, I could feel like it wasn’t *another* wasted cycle, we could use up the frozen sperm, and it could save us the time & money for travel.

So I called Dr. Diet’s office early in the morning on cd19 (Monday) and told them I wanted to do an insemination that day. They obliged. I was unceremoniously inseminated by Nurse Cutie, the timer was set for 15 minutes, and I was told I could leave afterwards, no ‘goodbyes’ necessary. Like a one-night-stand.

*Normally* I would’ve gone home and laid down, exhausted from all the hormones (trigger shot).

But this time, I went and took a vigorous hour long walk in the hot sun.

Since Dr. Diet’s office doesn’t do ultrasounds to check for ovulation, I asked Dr. Angel if he would do an ultrasound to see. And a couple hours post-insemination, Dr. Angel confirmed that I had ovulated. And I thought “well then there’s a chance”.

During the TWW, I went on about my life–I didn’t exercise caution. I drank at a wedding, I worked out rigorously…the most I did was cut back to one coffee drink per day, but I’m sure I was still taking in more that the recommended amount of caffeine.

I had symptoms but I blew them off. Mr. MLACS took note and tried to point out this-and-that, and I was like “Uh huh whatever dude, just like every.other.cycle.”

But I would be lying if I told you I didn’t google ‘early pregnancy symptoms’. I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t hoping for this cycle. I googled. I hoped.

However, the very thought of seeing a single line on a FRER was enough to bring me to tears. So I did not test early…

For the first time in *15 months* I actually waited to take a test until the day after AF was due. It was great because I hadn’t told anyone about this IUI so nobody asked me about it–no pressure to POAS!

I could hardly believe it when I looked at the FRER–I haven’t seen 2 lines since last July! It has been exactly 11 months since my last miscarriage. I came out of the bathroom speechless and crying and hugged Mr. MLACS with the pee stick in my hand. It felt surreal…

My first beta @ 15dpo was 192.

My second beta @ 17dpo was 404–a doubling time of 44.7 hours.

My third beta @ 21dpo was 2,220.

Today I am 5w3d, gestationally (from LMP it would be 6w1d, but I know when I conceived)

My progesterone was on the extremely low side (11.5) so per Dr. Angel, I started taking Endometrin suppositories. My TSH was starting to creep up (from 1.1 to 2.3 at only 15dpo) and I was having symptoms so Dr. Angel increased my Synthroid from 100mcg to 150mcg.

This all feels surreal to me. I honestly could not bring myself to write about it because I am so afraid that it will go away. Plus I didn’t want to hash out my conflicted feelings of excitement vs. paranoia. The flashbacks and constant comparisons between my other pregnancies and this one–creating a mental “pro” and “con” list trying to figure out the likelihood that I will end up with a baby this time. “I’m nauseaous! That’s good!” followed by “I have muscle twitches–that happened during miscarriage #1…” It’s an all-day roller coaster of emotions. I’m trying to keep these negative thoughts and emotions at bay, and writing about them would only invite them to stay. Seriously, I even “saged” myself and my house to get rid of any negative energies. And seriously, I think it helped.

So, I’ll keep you posted from here on out, though it won’t be in my traditional “play-by-play” style. I need to take a little space and get my wits about me. Also, I’m sure a lot of my pregnant bloggers noticed I ‘unfollowed’ them. I had to, for my own sake. I still check up on them all the time. If this pregnancy goes well, then maybe I can start ‘following’ pregnant and parenting bloggers again–but not yet. And TTC ladies, I encourage you to do what’s right for you. I loathe the thought that this pregnancy announcement has caused anyone any pain, but we are infertiles and no strangers to “happy for you, sad for me”. I have been VERY sad for me, a lot more sad for me than I was happy for others–truth. And that is nothing to be ashamed of–I’m not apologizing for any bitterness or resentment I felt, and you shouldn’t either. For me, the negative feelings eventually faded away (probably around the time a blogger is entering the 2nd trimester). But pregnancy announcements, pee sticks, ultrasounds…those are all triggers for me and very hard to swallow. If you are interested in any of that stuff, I will create an option on my menu and you check it out if and when you feel like it. Also if you would like more details about IUI #6, I’ve added it to the menu.

Despite my insecurity about this pregnancy, I’m hopeful. If you are so inclined, prayers and positive energy would be appreciated. First ultrasound is tomorrow and “scared shitless” is an understatement. I WILL NOT post ultrasound pics in my newsfeed, but I will let you know the outcome.

I am shaking right now.

XOXO,

MLACS

We’re Adopting!

A Labrador Retriever puppy!

I’ve been excited about this for a couple weeks, but wasn’t sure about it until a few days ago.

So you guys know I have a cat and I worship the litter he walks on, right? I’ve never had a dog. And you guys know we’ve been wanting to adopt a pup, and Mr. MLACS has said a Labrador is the best family dog (even though I admire more exotic breeds, like Rhodesian Ridgebacks–but they are African-lion-hunting-dogs, so we aren’t choosing that to be our first family canine).

So…I was at my childhood BFF’s house the other day (she is a teacher and home for the summer with her kiddos) and I was admiring their chocolate lab. She is a beautiful dog, and come to find out we have a lot in-common! She has stomach issues too–the poor dear is allergic to…ready for this…PROTEIN! A dog that is allergic to protein. I was like “Is that the canine version of phenylketonuria?” Very strange. But you know, I am also “special”, so that endeared her to me. I asked my friend where this pup came from, and I was informed that she came from a very reputable breeder a few hours south of where we live–these folks only raise two litters a year and they have a prestigious pedigree and are bred and trained to hunt (not that I know squat about that, but Mr. MLACS’s grew up with pedigreed hunting dogs). This particular pup was the “runt” of the litter and that may be why she has the health issue (protein intolerance). It is hard for the family to afford the expensive food that she requires, but she is a great dog and I loved watching her play with the kids.

So I contacted the breeder…and wouldn’t you know…they were getting ready to welcome a litter of all-black/chocolate-factored pups! Score! But Good Lord, they are expensive dogs! Freaking $1,000 for the males and $1,100 for females–with a required gender-specific deposit.

I mean, we’re looking at doing IVF in the next few months, so what business do we have buying an expensive puppy? When there are so many dogs in shelters or foster care that need good homes–how can we rationalize spending a fortune on a dog?? I’m quite practical with money and I want a baby more than anything in the world. And I’m not even a “dog person”.

But my *gut* told me, we were supposed to have one of these puppies.

Seriously, my heart swelled and I wept at the very thought of having a puppy as part of our family–visions of long walks and puppy snuggles danced through my head.

So when Mr. MLACS told me that he had emailed the breeders and consented to mail a deposit for a male puppy (his pick, I’d be just as happy with a female)…I WAS OVER THE MOON!

The puppies were born on June 25th (they are Gemini puppies, and most of my friends are Gemini’s). I don’t know which puppy will be ours because we have 2nd pick of the males and there are 3 males–2 plump pups, but the third male is the “runt” of the litter. We won’t discount him–I am always a fan of the “underdog”.

His name will be Koa (pronounced koh-ah, like Noah with a “k”). In Hawaiian it means “Brave, Strong, Fearless”. I’m not looking to cultivate a ferocious dog, but I wanted our pup to have a righteous name. And of course a Hawaiian name because we were married there and it is my second home.

We’ve already bought TONS of stuff for him! It occurred to me that I wish I could have a “puppy shower” in place of a “baby shower”–there is SO MUCH cute stuff for pups!

Please if you have any suggestions about what to buy or things to do or books to read–please send them my way. Mr. MLACS is very adept at handling dogs, but I am a total novice. Like, I was thinking of buying the book “Puppies for Dummies”.

And I leave you with a picture of the litter–how cute are they?!!

Pups Week 1

I still want a baby, but the prospect of a puppy has lifted my spirits exponentially. We’ll see how well I do when the puppy comes home with us in a few weeks–I’m sure it’ll be a fair amount of work to raise a puppy.

XOXO,

MLACS