Two Niños

From infertility to two babes at once, this is my life…

Archive for the ‘Infertility’ Category

UPDATE 4 – The birth…

Posted by Mel on May 15, 2007

So, the birth story. It’s really not very dramatic. It all happened so quickly, kind of a whirlwind. We were at the hospital at 36 weeks gestation (to the day). The doctor came in about 5 pm and said let’s go. We couldn’t believe this was actually it, finally. Some tears and phone calls later, it was all systems go. We had a planned c-section – one of the babies was head down, but the other was transverse (sideways). We could have tried a vaginal delivery, but after all we’d been through, we didn’t want to risk having any emergencies with the second baby, etc. So, we began preparing (or being prepared) for the surgery. I had an IV started, some blood work drawn, and then a nurse came in and shaved me…down there. I felt sorry for her after being immobile for about 6 months, she had quite a job….

Anyway, about 7pm or so, the anesthesiologist came in to do the epidural. This is something you hear so much about – how scary it is, how big the needle is that they put in your back, blah, blah, blah. But it really was not that bad. I admit I have a very high tolerance for pain and scariness, but this really didn’t live up to the hype (thank goodness). There was a young nurse anesthesist (sp????) assigned to be with me from the point the epidural was started throughout the surgery. He was so nice but I’m sure I annoyed the crap out of him. I kept expounding on how ‘interesting’ the feeling of the epidural was and how ‘surreal’ it was not to be able to feel my legs. I’m sure he was laughing on the inside.

So right before 8pm, we were wheeled to the OR. Alex had to wait a minute to come in while they prepared me for surgery, but I had the nice nurse guy to comfort me, so I was ok. Alex came in and the next thing I know, I see some red stuff flying by in a tube next to me. I asked the lovely nurse-guy what that was and he said they had started the surgery. What?? No one even told me.

This was when it got a little scary. My baby boy was ‘baby A’ and he was wedged down pretty tight in my pelvis, head down. I felt them tugging and pulling and commenting about how he didn’t want to come out. They were struggling for a while and seemed to start getting concerned – I started getting scared, but finally they got him out. They rushed him over to the side to clean him up – he didn’t cry right away. We were freaking out – yelling ‘is he ok? Is he ok?’. Alex went over there to check on him and he cried very quickly (think they had to give him a little shot of oxygen). Meanwhile, they were working on getting my baby girl out and I was still freaking out about my son. Everyone was assuring me he was ok and then out comes my girl. No problems for her and she was crying right away. At this point, Alex is over back and forth between the babies and I’m laying there STILL freaking out – yelling, asking if they are both ok. I felt very alone, but the nurse-guy, my steady, was still there trying his best to comfort me. He assured me everything was fine, but I was still scared. But, they were fine and after a bit, they wheeled them out for a bath and weighing and such and Alex went with them.

So, there I am lying on the operating table, being sewn up, all by myself. At some point I think the nurse-guy left, so then I was really alone. I felt really, really abandoned. Clearly I wanted Alex to be out there with the babies, but it sucked being in there by myself. After 9 months of being cared for and being the focus of everyone’s attention, it was so weird to be alone and so vulnerable. Alex videotaped the birth and aftermath, but I have yet to watch it, 10 months later. My emotions and fear about the pregnancy and that day are still raw and I’m scared of watching, scared of what will come to the surface….

Anyway, after what seemed like a long time, they wheeled me to recovery to be with Alex and my babies. They were doing great! E (the girl) was 6 pounds 3 oz and D (the boy) was 6 pounds 5 oz. They were healthy and beautiful! D had to go to the nursery just to get his blood sugar checked (it was a little low right after birth), but they met me in our room once I left recovery. No nursery stays for them. Wow! I couldn’t believe we a) made it to 36 weeks and b) the babies were really healthy. What a blessing.

We battled some jaundice over the next few days (D had to be on Billy Lights from day 2 until we left the hospital on day 4, E only for a little while) but that was the only issue the babies had (not that that is even an issue…). So, we all left the hospital together, 4 days after the babies were born. And then the real adventures began….

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UPDATE 3 – Pregnancy 33.5 weeks to when the babies came…

Posted by Mel on May 8, 2007

After our week long hospital stay, we are at home – with a t-pump (terbutaline pump installed in my thigh) and a home contraction monitor that hooks up to the phone and sends my contraction information to a monitoring service.

To be honest, at this point in my pregnancy, I FINALLY felt a little bit less scared. I knew that we were getting very close to a much safer point for the babies to come. Of course I wanted to keep them in as long as it was safely possible, but I didn’t feel terror at the thought of them deciding to make an entrance sometime soon.

I was obviously on very strict bedrest (not that I wasn’t close to that before anyway) and my daily ‘activity’ consisted of walking down the stairs in the morning to recline in my chair or lay on the couch, about a million visits to the bathroom a day, and making my way slowly back up the stairs at night to go to bed (not that I was really sleeping…). Sadly, I probably enjoyed this part of my pregnancy the most simply because I was not terrified every second of the day – the contractions were more an annoyance at this point since I a) knew my body was a bit deviant from the ‘norm’ and could contract and contract without producing any real results (i.e. cervix changes) and b) like I said, we were at or very close to a ‘safe point’ in the pregnancy.

I had to use the monitoring device a minimum of twice a day for an hour each time. I came to dread it. My doctors set my contraction limit at 6 contractions per hour – there were few hours I didn’t have at least six contractions. And if I had 6 or more when I monitored, they made me give myself a boost of the terbutaline and monitor for ANOTHER hour. Now, its not as if I was so busy that the monitoring was cramping my schedule, but I just hated doing it because there was always this fear that I was going to have to go to the hospital or take more medicine or be more stressed out. I felt like I knew my body pretty well at that point and felt confident trusting my own assessment of the situation. Nonetheless, it is pretty much required to do the monitoring when you have a t-pump, so we did it. And the t-pump itself was interesting. I had to change the injection site every 3 days so I had to stab a little needle in my thigh, change the tubing for the medicine to flow through, and add more medicine whenever it ran out. It really freaked my mom out that I had to inject myself, but after two rounds of IVF shots (which included 12 weeks of progesterone injections with the BIG needle), this was nothing. It really didn’t phase me at all. It’s weird what becomes normal in extenuating circumstances.

My doctors promised me I could remove the t-pump at 36 weeks and I carried on monitoring, reading tons of books, contracting, and poking my leg until then. I even scheduled my planned c-section for the day I turned 37 weeks. I couldn’t believe I had a date!! I was having more and more contractions as the days went on and the medicine started to lose effectiveness. Nothing to the point of hospitilization again, but clearly starting to increase. As promised, on the day I turned 36 weeks, the doctors told me I could remove the pump. I took it out after one last dose that morning – by that afternoon I was contracting like crazy. And they were different this time – stronger, more intense. By 4:00 pm I called my husband home and called the doctor who told us to head straight for the hospital. I was really worried that we’d get there and they would put us through another round of trying to stop the contractions. I wanted nothing more than to have healthy babies, but by this time I was 36 weeks and I was BEAT.

I didn’t have to worry….when the doctor finally came in about an hour after we got to the hospital, he saw my contraction log (which showed contractions about every two minutes), saw my face, and said ‘You ready to have these babies tonight? I can tell these contractions are different – it’s time’. My husband and I were pretty much expecting this, but still, the reality that we were going to have our babies in a matter of hours was overwhelming.

[To be continued in the next post]

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UPDATE 2 – Pregnancy from 32.5 weeks to 33.5 weeks…

Posted by Mel on May 7, 2007

So, we left off at the hospital, for more contractions, again. This time the contractions were stronger, scarier, more persistent and consistent. My cervix had stayed in tact through all of the contractions so far, and was still ok at this point. However, the doctor was quite concerned with the quantity and ‘quality’ of the contractions, so he decided to bring out the big guns and pump me full of magnesium sulfate. This drug is a significant step up from terbutaline and is generally used in fairly critical situations to stop or delay contractions (we were told at one point that most people go on to have their baby(ies) within hours or days of receiving magnesium sulfate). The doc also decided to go ahead and give us a round of two shots to help mature the babies’ lungs…yes, he was thinking they were coming soon.

I stayed on the mag sulfate drip for about 24 hours. They had me on the highest dose possible, yet the contractions continued. They slowed some, but kept coming fairly regularly. And if I thought the side effects of the terbutaline were bad, wow – I had no idea. The mag sulfate kicks your butt pretty thoroughly. I literally couldn’t see straight and was so dizzy I could not keep my eyes open. I vomited and just generally felt absolutely terrible. The nurse told me that most people on the mag sulfate at my dose were catheterized. Fun. Somehow I avoided that but she made me call her everytime I needed to go to the bathroom, which was alot. So anyway, I’m getting mired in details here….

After 24 hours of the mag, even though the contractions weren’t gone, they decided to stop the drip because I was starting to have severe side effects. They switched me back over to the terbutaline shots – sometimes these become more effective again after having mag. The contractions got a bit better, but still lingered. My OB and the perinatologist conferred and wanted to put me back on mag. I refused. My cervix was still in tact, it didn’t work before, and it was excruciating. I have a very high tolerance for pain and suffering, but this was enough. And most of all, I was concerned about the effects of the drugs on the babies – it would have been one thing if they had been effective, but they were not. So we (husband and I) said NO. It was decided we’d try to continue with the oral terbutaline – it was suppressing the contractions OK, so we were moved to a long-term high-risk pregnancy unit, stayed there for one more day (for a total of 4 days), and were discharged on full bedrest.

About 5 hours later, we were back at the hospital with lots of contractions. So, a few more hours of trying to figure out what to do with me, a couple of different medicines later, and they decided to hook me up with a terbutaline pump – as in a constant supply of terbutaline delivered through a needle taped into my leg. Fine with me…let’s try it. So we did, and it seemed to work better than anything so far. Another 3 days in the hospital (with contraction scares here and there) and we finally went home – with the pump in my leg and set up for home contraction monitoring.

The things I remember most about this hospital visit are 1) feeling really crappy from the mag 2) being stuck in a tiny little room (that is normally used for a few hours at a time before a woman actually delivers a baby) with no bathroom for 3 DAYS and having to use a disgusting portable potty right by my bed 3) and watching World Cup soccer with my husband (who was with me in these tiny rooms the entire week I was in the hospital). Fun stuff, huh?

[To be continued in the next post]

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UPDATE 1 – Pregnancy from 21 weeks to 32.5 weeks…

Posted by Mel on May 7, 2007

Ok, I’ve put this off long enough. I have been waiting for the ‘perfect opportunity’ to sit down and write – how silly of me. Perfect opportunities never present themselves, so waiting for them simply prevents me from accomplishing anything. So, I will attempt these updates by snatching whatever free time I can…

My last post was probably the last time I actually looked cute during the rest of my pregnancy. I started having some really minor contractions around 17 weeks – at that point, I ended up having a UTI so we attributed the contractions to that – and they did mostly stop after I took the antibiotics. Well, at about 23.5 weeks, I had my first hospitilization. I had a rare outing that day (from the beginning of my pregnancy, I spent most of my time at home taking it very easy) and spent about 3 hrs having some decaf coffee, browsing briefly at the store, and watching a movie. By that evening, I was having a fair amount of contractions – as many as twelve per hour. They were not regular or strong, but plenty enough to concern me. I called the doc and he said to head to the hospital. I ended up staying about 4 hours, having 3 shots of terbutaline (a drug commonly used to help slow down or stop contractions), and two bags of IV fluids. The contractions lingered for longer than the nurse was comfortable with, but finally stopped and I was sent home with the advice to ‘stay hydrated’ (seemed a little underwhelming on the advice front – an issue I got to experience many times during my pregnancy).

Things were ok for about another 2.5 weeks until I hit 26 weeks – another round of contractions and I was prescribed oral terbutaline to take ‘as needed’. I was having contractions every day, sometimes only a handful a day, other times a handful an hour. By the time I was 28 weeks, I was taking the terbutaline 3 or 4 times a day.

At 30.5 weeks, back to the hospital we go. More contractions and more fear. Again, 3 shots of terbutaline, at the hospital for about 5 hours, and sent home with instructions to take the oral terbutaline around the clock, every 4 hours. Fun! I forgot to mention that the side effects of the terbutaline are racing heart, shortness of breath, agitation. Just what I needed…by this point in my pregnancy, I was pretty miserable – so very fearful every minute of the day, worried that every bad thing that could happen would. I was literally in my chair or on the couch all day long. I was scared to move. We were having ultrasounds with a maternal fetal specialist (simply because I was pregnant with twins) every four weeks and I could barely make it from one ultrasound to the next. The anxiety was unbearable. Adding to that, at about our 30 week ultrasound, they thought one of the babies had a ‘high-normal level of amniotic fluid’. This could mean alot of things, some not too good, so another thing for me to freak out about. They assured me that they didn’t think it was any concern, just something to keep an eye on, but I was googling and worrying of course.

On we move to 32.5 weeks – I had been taking the terbutaline around the clock as instructed, but it seemed to gradually lose its effectiveness and the contractions became more and more frequent. So, back to the hospital, this time with more frequent and stronger contractions….

[To be continued in the next post]

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A few things

Posted by Mel on December 5, 2005

Well, there are a few things to catch you up on after my brief post on Friday…

First, we had blood work again today (they moniter pretty closely for a while). They were looking for the HCG level to at least double and it did do that and more. They said the blood work looks great which means the pregnancy is progressing well so far. It was a good thing to hear that! We still have a few more of these check points to go.

Second, what would this be like without a little drama? Because I am pregnant (it feels nice to say that 😉 and because of the number of eggs I produced (alot), I am now having some hyperstimulation in my ovaries/abdomen. Mainly what that means is that I have fluid in my ovaries and all in my abdomen. This isn’t a huge deal and should subside in about a week or two, but if it gets to be too much fluid it has to be drained. Well, guess what we did today. Got some fluid drained. It kept building over the weekend and I was very uncomfortable yesterday and last night. So they checked me today and said yep, there is lots in there. They thought almost a liter but ended up being less than that. So they had to put me to sleep to do it which always adds a little drama as well – I mean, they wheel you to the car in a wheel chair! So now we are home and I’m feeling much better in relation to the hyperstimulation. I don’t feel like my stomach is going to burst anymore. It was crazy – it literally looked like I was already about 4 months pregnant. They said it can build up again, so I have to get checked again on Thursday. We will do another blood check then too.

And Third, I don’t think I ever mentioned that we had 4 more embryos that were frozen. If you remember, we froze six up front, the day after fertilization, and we had 7 remaining after we transferred the two. Of those 7, 4 were healthy enough to be frozen. We had to pay our ‘storage’ fee today. You pay a yearly fee for them to store them until you use them. It is amazing.

So that is about it. I am going to have to continue to take it easy for a little while until this fluid thing really resolves. I am getting really good at sitting around and doing nothing. But I will be glad to get moving again! I will update again after our visit on Thursday.

Love to all!
m

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Drum roll please….

Posted by Mel on December 2, 2005

Good News!!!! The pregnancy test was positive! We are elated! They measured the ‘pregnancy hormone’, which is HCG, and the level is strong. We will go back on Monday for more blood work to monitor the hormones as they should keep rising. Things will be monitored pretty closely for the first few weeks. But we have cleared the first hurdle and are so grateful. Thanks to you all for your many, many prayers. I will post more details later…love to all!! m

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Double the pleasure

Posted by Mel on November 21, 2005

Yesterday was good. We transferred two ‘beautiful’ embryos and everything went very smoothly. Of the original 15 embryos that fertilized, we froze 6 on the first day, transferred two yesterday, and there were still seven more that were growing as of yesterday. None have arrested as of then. The remaining 7 will stay in culture until Tuesday – if they proceed to where they should be on that day, they will be frozen. The doctor said he thought we’d probably have some to freeze, and if so, another bonus! We couldn’t have had a better report on the embryos yesterday. On day 3, which was yesterday, they should have 8 cells. The two we transferred had 8 nice-looking cells as did at least 3 or 4 others that remained in culture. Because of the quality of the embryos and our age, the doctor recommended transferring only two, which we were perfectly comfortable with. He said that transferring three would significantly increase the risk of triplets without really increasing the chances of pregnancy. So two it was.

So then we came home and I crashed in bed where I stayed for the rest of the day. I took a xanax for this procedure (prescribed, of course!) and it knocked me out, just like it did last time. But I welcomed the rest and it was a good day. I’m going to take it easy again today and then start getting ready for Thanksgiving!

So now we wait. I’ll be checking in with some posts before then, but our pregnancy test is scheduled for December 2nd – seems like an eternity! Hopefully time will go a little faster with the holiday in there. So please pray for us and our little embryos! Thanks to you all for your emails, calls, and prayers!

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Does anyone know what ‘huevos’ means?

Posted by Mel on November 18, 2005

Yep, 17 eggs (or huevos ;-). And my ovaries were feeling them, let me tell you. Yesterday went fine – I seemed to have more pain than I did with the last one, but like I mentioned before, my mind is not all that reliable, so who knows. We were quite relaxed going into the procedure yesterday. Even Alex! We were joking around while I was sitting in my skimpy hospital gown, open to the back, and listening to bad jokes delivered by the anesthesiologist (sp?). So then they took me back to the operating room – let me tell you, there is no room for modesty when it comes to this. I know that when procedures are done, they put you in whatever compromising position they need to in order to get the job done. But let’s just say that I was still freaking awake when they got me into position! And then the anesthesiologist was MIA so while I was hanging out (literally), they had to go find him and bring him back. By that point I was like ‘bring the drugs on!!’ so I don’t have to remember how many people are breezing by me while I’m just chilling in such an oh so comfortable position. The embryologist came it to verify my name and date of birth and the doctor was joking that I’d just have to bite on a bullet since the anesthesiologist was missing – ALL WHILE MY LEGS ARE UP IN THE AIR WITH NOTHING COVERING ME!!! I am certainly not considered modest, but man! Funny.

So I woke up, had some pretty bad cramps, and got some more drugs. Yeah. Then we came home and I rested for the rest of the day. Pretty smooth all around.

And we got a call this morning from the embryologist. Of the 17 eggs, 15 were mature and ALL 15 fertilized! We were very excited to hear that. They went ahead and froze 6 – they will do this sometimes when there are excess fertilized eggs. Appartently freezing right after fertilization gives the embryos the best chance of survival once they are dethawed, so that’s what they did. So we will have them if we ever need to try and use them. What a bonus! So the remaining 9 are hanging out in their cribs (dishes) and hopefully behaving for their babysitter (embryologist). We are not scheduled to get any updates tomorrow and it is fairly certain that we will go in for the transfer on Sunday. In the meantime, pray for our little embryos!

And finally, just to give you some insight into the wonderful doctors we have used for all of this, one of the doctor’s called me after we heard from the embryologist just for what he called a ‘social call’. He wanted to share his excitement at the egg and fertilization results and tell us that he was going to be out of town next week but that he’d be thinking of us and hoping for good news. Wow. I didn’t think things like this actuallly happened anymore. I knew he was great, but he took it to a whole new level this morning. They see this everyday and to think he is so invested and interested in our situation just makes me feel great. If only other doctors realized how far their gestures can go.

So that’s it for today. Will update when we have more news! Love to all!

m

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17 Huevos

Posted by Mel on November 17, 2005

We have completed the egg retrieval procedure successfully! We harvested 17 eggs and they are now being fertilized by the doctors in the lab. We will get a call tomorrow with the results of the fertilization process. Hopefully, a high percentage of them will move on to become healthy embryos.

Melissa is doing well. She is taking a nap, and is in some amount of pain, but nothing out of the ordinary. She will take it easy for the rest of the day and be up and about later this evening.

Now we wait…

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Almost there

Posted by Mel on November 16, 2005

So, a few more pricks, pokes, and ultrasounds later, we are one day away from our egg retrieval. Looks like we have lots of eggs again, though really hard to tell how many – some of the follicles are small, so they probably won’t have eggs. So we’ll just say ‘looks like alot’ for now and we’ll see tomorrow what we get. We go in tomorrow morning for the retrieval at 9:00. I am ready to harvest these bad boys (or girls…)!!

I am feeling ok – my estrogen took a big jump yesterday, which resulted in a big headache and feeling kinda yuck, but that was to be expected. The good news is that my estrogen is still lower than where it was last time, so the stimulation was much more controlled and reasonable this time (at least that’s what the docs say). And I do feel better than I did last time. Although it is hard to remember everything exactly – your mind kind of plays tricks on you, making you forget things that you thought you’d never forget and making you remember things that never really happened…

So, we go in the morning, they put me out for a little while, and they get the eggs out. It’s pretty quick, but I remember being really tired after last time. So I will likely come home and sleep for the day. Alex will stay home with me and he will write a post to let you know how many eggs we get. So until then, I’m off to go rest my ovaries…

Posted in Infertility, IVF | 2 Comments »