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Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Good News!

My beta increased to over 1500!! YAY — I AM SO HAPPY 🙂

We have our first ultrasound on Tuesday — yippee!

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Prayers Please

I had my 3rd beta yesterday and the number was a little over 800, which means that my hormones basically doubled in 72 hours. My RE was a little concerned — he would like to see the numbers double in closer to 48 hours this early in the pregnancy. I have to go back again tomorrow for a 4th beta test, and hopefully the numbers will close to double in this 48 hour time frame. Either way, we go in early next week for my ultrasound. I am trying to stay positive — almost everything I have read says doubling between 48-72 hours is fine — but the doubt is creeping in. If doubling in 72 hours was okay then why would my Dr be concerned?

I wish I could do more to encourage my embryos to grow healthily, but I have done and am still doing everything that  I can to encourage a healthy pregnancy. I will keep thinking positive thoughts, saying prayers, and staying hopeful that tomorrow will be a good day in this journey.

Beta doubled!

Went for early-morning blood work – fun way to start the weekend (add sarcasm as needed). The only good thing about weekend blood work is that the doctor calls earlier, so I don’t have to stress and worry that something is wrong for as long. Happily, my beta levels are ‘great’ – well over 400 – basically doubling over the last two days. I go back on Tuesday morning for my final beta test before our first ultrasound. Grow, baby, grow!!

I am starting to feel some queasiness as well as being very tired in the afternoon. The OHSS symptoms have relented a little bit – the high sodium diet is definitely helping to pull fluid back into my blood vessels. I am still sore and bloated, but I can walk a little bit easier. We’ll see how I’m feeling tonight – the symptoms are always worse in the evening. I had some trouble sleeping last night because of my swollen ovaries, but I will take a nice nap this afternoon to make up for it.

We have a fun night planned with friends — we will mostly be sitting, so I shouldn’t be too uncomfortable. Tomorrow, we are heading to a little resort town to meet up with my wonderful in-laws for some relaxation and good food. It will be nice to get away and spend time with family. I am truly blessed to have one of the best families ever – they provide so much love and support! I honestly don’t know if I would be able to be strong and get through this without them.

Baby dust to all!

The Waiting Game…

Now comes the agonizing part of a positive pregnancy test — waiting and praying. Tomorrow, I have my second beta check and hope to have the numbers at least double, which means the pregnancy is healthy. 2-3 days later I will have a third Beta check, and again am hoping that the numbers at least double from the second check. After three healthy betas, we will go in for our first ultrasound to make sure the pregnancy is in my uterus and growing healthily. We will continue weekly ultrasounds with my RE until I am 8-9 weeks. Hopefully, everything will go well, and at the 8-9 week, I will graduate to my regular OB/GYN for regular check-ups and my eventual delivery.

This is actually the hardest part of the journey for me. I over-analyze every pregnancy symptom to see if it’s getting worse from the day before — am I feeling nauseous, am I tired, etc? With the OHSS, I am still very bloated and uncomfortable, but the pain isn’t as bad, which of course makes me worry that my beta levels aren’t rising quickly enough. It could also mean that following the doctor’s orders is helping to alleviate some of the swelling, or maybe I am just getting used to the pain. The pain is also worse at night than it is during the morning, but I am still concerned that it is a bad sign.

I am doing my best to stay positive, but with such a frustrating track record of early pregnancy loss, I feel like I am walking on egg shells. And, of course, there is absolutely nothing that I can do to make this all work out. I am eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, and trying to stay positive, but the worry still creeps in and makes me a bit crazy.

Praying for more good news tomorrow! The next 9 months will continue to be a series of small victories and, in order to stay sane, I have to celebrate them when they happen.

Happy Friday to all!

 

Pregnant!!!

Yippeee!

Just spoke to my RE and the blood test is positive! My first beta is 222, which is very strong — maybe there are two little ones in there?!?! YAY! I go back on Saturday for my second beta test — hopefully the beta will double, which will signify that everything is growing healthily! Thank you so much for all the positive thoughts and prayers! Much love 🙂

12 hours

Thursday is almost here – in 12 hours, I’ll be at my RE’s office for my blood test. I am nervous and still feel good about the test… I just hate waiting. After the blood test, I have to wait for the dr to call to give me the result. It will be a day of anxious waiting.

Baby dust to all!

Cautiously Optimistic!

Whew… It’s been an exciting couple of day! First, I actually won an argument with Aetna. Apparently, there was some sort of “computer glitch” which caused them to deny my IVF claims, so everything will be reviewed and approved shortly! Thank goodness for small miracles 🙂

Secondly, I am feeling super positive about this cycle! Yesterday morning, I woke up with a sore right ovary. As the day lingered on, I started to feel my left  ovary. They actually feel similar to how they felt prior to the transfer — large and uncomfortable. I am also more bloated, have awful indigestion, am drinking more, and am exhausted. I called the doctor’s office due to the pain my ovaries were causing, and, after a few questions, the nurse explained that I have a mild case of Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This typically happens before the retrieval or transfer, and is caused by the stimulation meds — basically your ovaries over-produce follicles and begin to fill with fluid. This apparently can also happen after the transfer, and is usually triggered by an increase in HCG (the pregnancy hormone) in your system! When I met with my RE this morning, he checked my ovaries and my weight (ugh!), and confirmed that I have a mild case of OHSS. He also said that this is GOOD news because it most likely means that I am pregnant :). I hope he’s right 🙂

Thursday, here I come!

Guilty pleasures, money, and music

DAY 21:  List 5 guilty pleasures.
1. Getting manicures and pedicures! I love having my nails done — they always look so pretty and feminine!
2. Ice Cream!
3. Going out to eat at great restaurants, especially farm-to-table venues
4. Broadway shows 🙂
5. Nice towels — I am kind of obsessed with owning and using nice bath and kitchen towels.  

DAY 22:  How has your financial situation affected your infertility journey?
Although we have insurance that covers most of our IVF, we are paying dearly for that coverage — our insurance premiums more than quadrupled since last year — and we have had to cut back on non-essentials like eating out and playing golf. I also go to acupuncture, take supplements, and buy organic foods and beauty products, which have a hefty price tag. Over the last year, between insurance premiums, doctor copays, prescriptions, and everything else, we have spent at least ten to fifteen thousand dollars in our quest to have a baby. I know that it will all be worth it when we bring home our beautiful baby 🙂

DAY 23:  Put your iPod on shuffle.  List the first 10 songs that play.
Something by Ingrid Michaelson, Matthew Nathanson, and/or Dave Matthews. I also love classical music and listen to it everyday on Pandora while working.

Waiting sucks

Patience is not really my thing, especially when waiting for a positive pregnancy test result. I feel like time is literally dragging by, and Thursday may never get here. I am trying to stay positive, but there are moments of doubt and frustration. I am more on edge than normal and my temper is embarrassingly short. I am rarely cranky, but as the time drags on (and I hope and pray for a BFP), I feel more tense and worried about a negative result. I actually had a nightmare about getting my period last night. I woke up terrified, but was thankful when I realized that it was only a dream. I am tempted to start urine testing, but I promised myself that I wouldn’t drive myself batty with pee sticks. We’ll see if I can resist the testing urge.

Tonight, I am focusing on me and my feelings. It’s okay to be scared and nervous, and it’s very important to share these feelings so they don’t make me crazy. Thankfully, we have a fun event tomorrow that will distract me and help me to not think about pregnancy. Work is also quite busy next week, which will help, but I have a going away party Thursday night in my office. I rarely go to the office – it’s a 2 hour commute each way — and I am not sure what to do on Thursday. I go in for my blood test early in the morning, but won’t have the result until after 1pm. I definitely don’t want to be in the office for the doctor’s call – I need to be able to react to the news (whatever it is) in my own way at my house. For now, I’ll plan to work from home, and depending on the news, will go to the office in the afternoon for the going away party. It’s really not worth stressing about :-).

To add to the stress, our evil insurance company – the awful Aetna – has decided to not approve IVF procedures they previously approved. Working with Aetna has been a disaster. We are supposed to be 100% covered for IVF, and everything was pre-approved and authorized by the devils, but now they are going to make me fight with them to get what we are paying for. On Monday, I will call my insurance angel at our RE’s office and explain what is going on; I hope she can help to resolve this issue quickly. I am also going to cal the NJ Insurance agency and lodge a complaint against Aetna. They are making a stressful medical situation worse. No one deserves to be treated this way, and I am going to fight back.

Whew, I feel better just writing about my feelings! Deep breaths and happy thoughts!

Baby dust

When Infertility Strikes

Here’s a good article about how to support couples who are dealing with infertility. This disease doesn’t just affect the couple, it also impacts their friends, families, and loved ones.

Reprinted from Resolve.org

When Infertility Strikes

 Although infertility is widely acknowledged as a crisis for individuals and couples, it is less recognized as a trauma that impacts their families. Yet, involuntary childlessness is an intergenerational crisis that has the ability to strain, even damage, family relationships over time by impairing communications and interactions. Invisible losses, such as miscarriages, failed medical treatments, or adoptions gone awry, may highlight a family’s inadequate means of dealing with problems. Old family issues, jealousies and resentments may resurface or other family struggles, such as parental illness or the pregnancy of a sibling, may take priority over reproductive difficulties, leaving the infertile couple feeling isolated and abandoned. The lack of acknowledgment of the losses associated with infertility may damage family interactions, particularly if family members use negative coping techniques such as blaming, side-taking, denial or avoidance. However, the family experience of infertility also has the potential to bring out the best in the family system, promoting growth and well-being for the members. This article will examine family dynamics impacting infertility and discuss ways to help deal with the demands infertility places on the family system.

Family Systems

Some families faced with infertility grow closer and find ways to provide support, compassion, and understanding in the midst of the maelstrom of profound loss and despair. These families are able to handle the myriad of negative emotions of infertility, and weather the pain of its many losses. They acknowledge the despair of this unique loss and its impact on the family as a whole, not simply on the individual or couple. Family members listen, openly communicate warmth and compassion, and ask for what the couple wants or needs during the infertility journey. And, they are willing to provide support in a variety of ways, including participation in rituals for commemorating losses as a family (e. g., attendance of service after a miscarriage) and a willingness to adjust family life to accommodate the realities of the infertile couple’s situation (e.g., adapt gatherings to meet treatment plans or emotional needs). However, even strong, healthy families can find the challenges of infertility daunting and draining, particularly the pain of being an observer in a drama in which your loved one is suffering and there is little one can do to relieve that suffering.

Involuntary childlessness is an interruption of the family life cycle. Family building is a developmental stage that represents generativity or fostering the next generation. It is a life cycle stage in which each and every member of the family transitions from one developmental stage to another, and in the process assumes new roles and new role responsibilities: couples move from being spouses to parents; their parents become grandparents; their siblings become aunts or uncles; nieces and nephews become cousins, and so on. Infertility is the obstacle blocking these normal transitions and preventing family members from assuming new developmental roles.

Interruption of normal life cycle transitions can highlight a family’s unique flaws, precipitating negative behaviors such as; parental favoritism; poor communication; and/or unhealthy coping strategies. Infertility may also require family members to re-examine some long-held family beliefs if they cause increased distress. For example, the belief that an offspring is not an adult until he/she is also a parent, or children owe parents grandchildren. In short, infertility has the ability to distress not only infertile couples but also, also, their families, resulting in ‘collateral damage’ that lingers long after the problem of childlessness has been resolved.

Interfamily Relationships

Very often parents of an infertile couple feel caught between their infertile child and their ‘fertile’, sometimes pregnant, child(ren). Naturally, both offspring may expect to rely on their parents for emotional support at this significant time in their lives. While this is a realistic expectation, many parents may, for a variety of reasons, end up providing more support to the ‘pregnant’ child than the infertile couple. Sometimes this happens when a parent is more knowledgeable about providing support around pregnancy and parenthood issues than about infertility. Other times, it may be that pregnancy and grandparenthood is a happier, more enjoyable experience, while infertility brings sadness, loss, and a variety of negative emotions. In addition, the infertile offspring may not have asked for parental help, keeping infertility a secret, or may have asked for assistance that is impossible to provide. Many parents become paralyzed by their child’s pain and feel helpless to know what to do. Sometimes they feel trapped in the middle-or worse, their children demand they declare a specific loyalty or that they take sides. It is important to remember that parents still set the tone for family interactions and values, even in adulthood, and must refuse to take sides.

A significant challenge to parents of adult children is knowing when and how to provide feedback-particularly when it may not be wanted or appreciated. How does a parent say, “Telling me to support you by asking that I reject your sibling is inappropriate. I will support you in any way I can, but not by being hurtful to your sibling.” Or “While it is wonderful that you are overjoyed with your new baby, I expect you to be compassionate of your sibling’s feelings while they struggle to have children.” Parents must be aware that watching a sibling move through the stages of pregnancy is typically most difficult for the infertile couple.

Parents faced with their children’s infertility are often baffled by this crisis. It is an ‘invisible’ loss that involves private marital issues, complex medical treatments, and a rollercoaster of emotions. They may know how to support a fertile child, because of their own experience, and may be less clear about their role of support for infertile child. As with other experiences in parenting, they may have difficulty dealing with different children, with different needs, and coming from two very different life experiences.

Families dealing with infertility must find ways to help each member feel respected and acknowledge, despite their differences. It is important to define goals for strengthening the family which help to keep the group intact, communication open, and strengthening the functioning of all members.

The following suggestions are advice for family members and couples struggling with infertility and is based, in part, on Patricia Irwin Johnston’s Understanding Infertility:Insights for Family and Friends:

For Family Members:

  • Acknowledge infertility as a medical and emotional crisis with a wide variety of losses, disappointments and ‘costs’: physical, financial, social, marital. Do not attempt to deny or minimize involuntary childlessness either by avoiding the topic or offering empty platitudes like, “Everything will be fine” or “Just relax”. Avoid offering unsolicited advice and never interfere by taking sides, blaming, or imposing rigid expectations or limitations.
  • Be sensitive to the pain, stress, and emotional pressure of childlessness or the inability to expand one’s family as desired. If it is difficult to know what to say, tell the couple rather than saying nothing. Ask them what you might say or do that would be helpful. Try to frequently convey care and compassion and do not ‘forget’ the couple over time as the months and years of the infertility struggle drag on. Be cognizant that some junctures in the journey may be more difficult than others such as after a miscarriage, failed in vitro fertilization cycle, or surgery that fails to produce the hoped for results. Remembering the couple with a card, phone call, donation in their names, flowers, or some other kind gesture can make the journey less difficult.
  • Be supportive. Do not assume you know what supportive means to your loved one but, instead, ask how you can be supportive: what would they find most helpful and useful? If you are able, consider ways in which you can assist emotionally (listening during a ‘good cry’) and functionally (offering financial assistance). Offer to simply listen and be ready to listen when called upon.
  • Emphasize the importance and value of the couple (and each partner) in the family. Encourage and welcome their involvement as a couple or individually in family events and activities. Once it occurs, infertility becomes a part of the family’s history; how a family adapts and copes with the events and stress will be forever part of the family’s past. Like any stressor, infertility can strain family functioning or improve it. Families need to be sensitive about the needs of the infertile couple, particularly around child centered family gatherings. It is important that they understand the infertile couple’s decision not to come may be important.
  • Always keep the lines of communications open. Stress the importance of honesty, candor, tact, and diplomacy in family interactions. It is not a good idea to hide pregnancies ‘out of kindness’ or not invite the infertile couple to child-centered family events; or keep secrets out of fear of upsetting the couple. Always think about how things are told as much as what is being told: tact, kindness, and privacy can go a long way to soften the blow of difficult news. Open communication also means being able to express concern if there is evidence of significant emotional distress. When expressing concern always offer suggestions for help, such as seeking support and counseling through RESOLVE or an infertility counselor.
  • Respect the boundaries the infertile couple sets regarding their infertility. Some couples prefer a high level of privacy about infertility. Other choose a more open approach. When in doubt, ask the couple their preference.

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