strange fruit

The ultrasound NP was on holidays, and the doctor that did my ultrasound yesterday was new, and clearly unfamiliar with the practice’s new computer. He kept going back and forth between menus although even I could see that he had already been in the one he was looking for… He had first showed us that there was one sac and a heartbeat, so I wasn’t worried, but in a different situation I imagine this would drive me nuts. Also, he poked my cervix more than I (and it) liked.

Strawberry baby didn’t look like a strawberry at all, more like a banana, maybe. Also, is the growth of my belly a bit alarming, or is it just me? (Or all the food?)

The part that made me nervous actually started the day before the ultrasound: I began to feel some pelvic pressure. Rationally I know that Strawberry Baby is tiny (7mm as of yesterday) and so it can’t be putting any pressure yet. It might be my abysmal pelvic floor muscles – I stop when I need to cough or sneeze. The alternative isn’t pretty. So I started doing Kegels again, hoping that would help. I had considered asking at the appointment, but given how unconvinced I was with the doctor, and unwilling to be poked even more, I didn’t. Plus, I don’t think anyone would really (be able to) do much about it. I will ask my MFM as soon as I see him, but that’s not until early April.

Then today around noon I started spotting. Cue freakout for a minute. But it was really just spotting, red-tinted fluid that fortunately quickly turned into brown-tinted fluid. Given that I suspect it may have come from poking around, I wasn’t that interested in going in to get checked out again. I temporarily decided against my original plan of swimming tonight, but then read some loss blogs and was sobbing more than I have in a while. So I went to the pool after all, hoping for the water to calm me down.

I oscillate between excitement and fear of losing this baby, which is often mixed with sadness about not getting to keep A & C. Pregnancy after loss is a strange place to be.

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18 weeks: L&D

You didn’t think that was the appropriate way of celebrating 18 weeks? I kept thinking “but that was for 38 weeks!”, too. But I’ve felt pelvic pressure for a while now, sometimes better, sometimes worse, and yesterday it was so much that even a short walk (like, to the bathroom) wasn’t fun anymore and so I decided to call the office.
(Spoiler if this is too stressful: the babies are fine, and for the moment everything else seems to be ok, too)

Not that I’d completely ignored it before: at my last appointment I asked the doctor, but she said not to worry. It’s a bit hard to say now, but I’m fairly sure I was less uncomfortable then. Well, and then I went halfway around the world, and between jet-lag and being pregnant and getting a cold I was rather tired anyway. But back in my normal life, I thought this wasn’t developing in the normal direction at all. Dr. Google found several cases of this where it was just the pressure from the babies, which obviously gets more as they keep growing. And then there were some cases where it was actually preterm labor… I grew concerned and just plain uncomfortable. The on-call doctor said that this should be evaluated, and whether now or at my next appointment was up to me, so I decided for the better-safe-than-sorry plan and went in. After a bit of confusion because I got a “visitor” sticker initially, I was given a room and the usual parameters (urine, oxygen, temperature, blood pressure) were checked. A young doctor came in to go over my symptoms and history. Then she checked the most important part, the babies — they’re fine, as usual unperturbed by the weird stuff my body does. First breath of relief. Then she proceeded to check my cervix, and as promised that wasn’t exactly comfortable. It was also a tad dilated “but long”, which nevertheless didn’t sound too reassuring. She went off to find her more senior colleague for the cervix length measurement. Senior Doctor wanted to repeat the manual cervix check (much less uncomfortable) and declared it a tad open at the top, but then closed. The ultrasound measurement (with a wand that was supposed to remain sterile, have never seen anyone handle this thing with so much care) came to 3-3.3cm. Which they told me was ok, but the threshold for worrisome, 2.5cm, is close enough to keep me somewhat concerned. I have my anatomy scan on Monday, and they shall re-measure my cervix then, and if it shortens we’ll talk about the options. If it stays at this length we’re fine. Then they put on a contraction monitor for good measure, but it wasn’t showing anything (and I haven’t felt any either). So I was discharged and told to come back if anything got worse. At home I did far too many searches on cervical length (CL) issues and possible treatments, learning that “normal” would be 3-5cm, concern starts at 2.5cm and serious concern at 1.5cm. Eventually I decided that, while knowledge may be power, sleep was important too, and went to bed. Am feeling much less pressure today, though I have no idea what causes these changes.

A few scattered thoughts:

  • In general (well, aside from having to go to L&D at 18 weeks) this was a quite positive experience. Everyone was kind and caring and tried to make me as comfortable as possible and answer all my questions. I had the feeling of being in good hands.
  • 18 weeks is scarily far from viability, let along a gestational age where one can reasonably hope for the babies to be fine.
  • I’ve begun to think that individual CL measures are like individual betas — they tell you something, but the development over time seems much more important. Although it can also be quite erratic, going back and forth…
  • I’ve had these symptoms for almost a month now. So either my cervix started out veeery long, or this is largely discomfort and not actually doing much. I’m kind of hoping for the latter. We may know more on Monday.
  • Nevertheless I decided to take it easier, in particular, less walking around (that’s when the discomfort is worst) and ideally an after-lunch break of half an hour or so where I can actually lie down.

So, here I was thinking about when and how to announce my pregnancy on facebook, and suddenly my new mantra is “long and closed”.

it-that-shall-not-be-named

Every time I think my bleeding/spotting has finally stopped it starts again. This time was no exception – on Monday I was wearing a red slip, and when something felt weird and I went to the bathroom, the panty liner had almost become invisible. Isn’t that just what you were hoping for at 12w5d? Me too.
There was some more blood later, and then it largely stopped. Luckily “just” blood, no clots or so. I called the clinic but as it was already in the afternoon and I had my NT scan the next morning we decided to wait until then.

The most important part of the scan, the result, was great — both babies are still there and look great, both trisomy risks are very low. Phew. The scan itself was not that much fun, which was a shame because I think it could have been a great experience, but the ultrasound tech we had was weird. H probably disliked her at first glance, a feeling that was only confirmed. She decided my bladder was too full and I should fill and discard one cup (has that ever happened to any of you?) It was probably meant to make me more comfortable, but somehow the way she went about it was odd. During the scan we tried to ask questions to give her pointers of stuff to talk about, but the communication didn’t work out. Not that she was quiet all the time, just only talking about stuff she wanted to. Including complaints about the lack of cooperation of my babies (see, my protective parent skills are already getting exercised) and how difficult these measurements were to make with twins. To make them move, she pushed the wand like a juggernaut on my belly. Not really hard, but still, dear woman, didn’t I TELL YOU that I had some bleeding yesterday? Could you perhaps be a bit more gentle?!

In contrast, the geneticist we later met to go over our results was lovely. She congratulated us again and recommended we book the anatomy ultrasound for 18-19 weeks, as we’d get lots of ultrasounds later, because twins. H wanted me to specifically ask for another tech but I chickened out, I’m no good at this. Hoping we’ll just be lucky and get someone else…

To get back to the beginning and the title, maybe if I just don’t mention a certain issue anymore, it won’t come up again…

heartbeats

Mine: back to normal.
The babies’: 160 and 125. There’s really two of them in there, measuring right on track. I can’t quite believe it yet.

There was also a gray mass that may or may not be a subchorionic hematoma. My doctor wasn’t really worried about it so I’ll try not to, either. She said it meant I’d probably experience more bleeding (which for the moment has reduced itself to spotting, fortunately), and that, if I noticed something triggered bleeding, to maybe avoid that. Other than that it appears there’s not much I can do that would actually change the outcome. I’ll go back in 2 weeks for another ultrasound with my IVF clinic, but in the meantime should already try to contact the OB to get an appointment with them.

(breathe out)

Luckily I could get an appointment this week for my scary lump. My doctor listened to my report, did an exam and then an ultrasound. She said she thought it felt like a cyst, which should show up on the screen as a “black hole”. But there wasn’t any. There wasn’t anything irregular to be seen at all. Phew. My doc said it might be something fibroid-y, which she wouldn’t necessarily see on the u/s. She’s not a breast specialist so she gave me a referral, to make sure, but I’m feeling very relieved. (Do I have to tell you that I hardly slept last night?) Hoping, of course, that the specialist — whom I’ll only see in mid-April — won’t find anything worrisome either.

I also told her about my theory of inversions, endometriosis and exercise, and she seemed a bit skeptical, but said that perhaps, a combination of factors could cause this (and I know many women that practice the same sports I do, and feel fine), and that she would ask other patients about their exercise if they came in with similar complaints.

Phew (again).

still here

Thanks for your comments regarding the charting app, and sorry for vanishing. I tried a few of the free apps, decided that many of them are fancy-but-not-actually-useful, and eventually picked (and bought the full version of) FemCal. Which essentially looks like a direct implementation of what’s described in TCOYF, no bells and whistles, but quite customizable, which I like. Not sure if the prediction of peak days and expected periods works well, but given how erratic my cycles can be, that might be a lot to ask.

Somehow over the last weeks I came to the realization that it is not terrible if I don’t get pregnant this year. Which may be a way of self-protection — chances are low, as are the possibilities of doing treatments (as previously described). Plus, I started to think seriously about my career, not so much in the what-would-happen-if-we-finally-had-a-baby way, either independent of that, or with the fear that neither might work out… (it’s not as bad as it sounds here though. I think.) So with that, I’m not sure what to do with this space — after all, following natural cycles is not too exciting. I have a few things I wanted to write about, but that would need time and thought, and I’ve been really busy with the rest of life. I keep doing my fertility yoga exercises, because I think they’re good for me (in general, the fertility effects remain to be seen), though I’ve pretty much stopped doing any exercise during my period, and my pain has been much better. Not quite gone yet, but much, much better. And yesterday I got another pregnancy announcement, and I was okay. Not excited, but not terribly sad either. So perhaps at least yoga helps me calm down.

And then today, CD7, I was a good girl and did my breast self-exam. And decided to make an appointment, because there might be something that I don’t like… it’s not always noticeable and so I’m not sure if it’s anything at all (and of course I hope it’s nothing), but I’m a bit scared. No bad news, please.