Tuesday, January 26, 2016

14 Week Updates: Baby 2.0

How far along? Exactly 14 weeks today

How big is baby? According to my baby apps, our little one is now the size of a lemon and can squint, frown, & grimace. Thanks to my ultrasound today, I can tell you that our baby is now exactly 3 ounces and measuring 9 cm from the top of its head to its rump. Baby was measuring right on schedule (well, a little ahead!) at 14 weeks 1 day and had a 143 heart rate. All looked great- baby was still moving all over the place and dare I say- seems to have long legs just like Papa and big sister Iyla!

Baby leg!

Weight gain? Almost another 2 pounds from last week! Insane. 118.2 pounds this morning to be exact. The gain doesn't seem to be showing any signs of slowing, and I am officially up 8.2 pounds total in my first trimester. And happy to OFFICIALLY have graduated to the 2nd trimester!

Sleep? Not great the last few nights. I'm waking at LEAST 10 or more times, getting up to use the restroom or just waking between each sleep cycle. Leaves me feeling quite sleepy during the day.

Food cravings/aversions? I've been having an aversion to seafood this past week. Last night I cooked steaks and after the first bite didn't want anymore (which may have been entirely due to my cooking vs. an actual aversion to red meat)!

Symptoms? Both of my inner thighs feel like they are constantly pulled, which I remember from my pregnancy with Iyla. Not super fun, and I think has to do with the spreading of my hips and pelvis. I also threw up one morning this past week, which I haven't done since 8 weeks! I've been feeling extra tired and voraciously hungry overall this past week. And my skin has been feeling quite itchy.

Big sister? Still as sweet as can be, hugging my belly multiple times per day and saying "I love your baby! Does the baby like when I snuggle it? When I talk to it?" LOVE.

Snuggling the baby

Although she loves to lavish kisses on MY belly, these days when I try to kiss hers she likes to tell me "no Honey, the belly shop is closed." I die every time. : )

Most looking forward to? My "Plan B" trip for this coming weekend, which is replacing the girls' Mexico getaway I had to sadly cancel (did I mention F*** YOU ZIKA VIRUS)?!  I booked myself 3 nights at a local spa resort I love 30 minute outside of town, and am SO happy the forecast looks to be sunny and in the 70's- so pool time can still be had! Still NO match for a beach getaway, but at least I'll be in beautiful nature setting with lots of R&R and NO virus carrying mosquitoes. I'll take it!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

F*** You, Zika Virus

Never heard of the Zika Virus? Well, neither had I, before yesterday afternoon.

(and no, I do not have the Zika Virus).

I've had a girl's trip to Mexico planned for months now- to join 6 of my dearest high school girlfriends for 3 days/nights of catching up and relaxation. I'd planned to surprise them all with my pregnancy upon arrival, and was SO looking forward to this time away. I had my suits purchased, had tried on all sundresses and found several that fit over my belly, had secured round-the-clock help with Iyla- you name it, I was READY.

Yesterday I happened to be posting on one of my Facebook Mama groups about recommendations for the upcoming Babymoon trip BC and I were hoping to plan. Someone mentioned that I should be sure not to travel to anywhere in South America/Mexico, due to an outbreak of the Zika Virus.


I quickly replied that- ahem- I was supposed to depart for Mexico NEXT WEEK, and should I be concerned? I rash of reposes to the tune of YES had me immediately stalking Google.

I learned this was a virus transmitted by mosquitos, and wasn't much of a concern UNLESS YOU WERE PREGNANT. You see, this virus- which has NO vaccine or cure- has been linked to alarmingly increased cases of Microcephaly:

Microcephaly is condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size. Microcephaly can be an isolated condition, meaning that it can occur with no other major birth defects, or it can occur in combination with other major birth defects.

After growing increasingly alarmed, I decided the wisest thing was to call my OB here in Austin for reassurance. Mind you, my clinic here is comprised of extremely left leaning, liberal, granola type MDs and Midwives… and I pretty much expected they'd tell me my risk was so low that I should go ahead on the trip and enjoy myself.

No such luck.

When I got the nurse on the line she told me I was the 3rd call she'd gotten in the past 24 hours, and did I need her to write me a letter to refund my travel expenses? I asked if this meant they were advising patients not to travel right now, and her response was a definite YES.

That poor nurse had to then hear me sputter out a series of curse words in between asking over and over "really? Really!?"

And so it is. I have to cancel my long awaited girl's trip to Mexico FIVE days before I am set to depart. BC is so sweet and is encouraging me to book something else for those dates- but the problem I am running into is the last minute-ness of this all with availability. Plus the money I am getting back from the Mexico getaway (thank GOD for travel insurance!) doesn't go very far. A trip to Mexico is pretty much one of the most affordable bang-for-the-buck vacations one can get, so my current replacement options are severely limited.

Gah. What are the odds that this virus had to break out NOW? I am so sad and angry that I am going to miss out with my girls. And in the same breath it is absolutely NOT something I would chance fate with- we've worked way too hard for this baby and I would never forgive myself if anything happened to it due to my ignoring my doctor's advice.

So I say: F*** YOU, Zika Virus…. F*** You!

(Sorry to the Grandparents reading this post for my vulgarities).

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

13 Week Updates: Baby 2.0

How far along? 13 weeks

How big is baby? This little one is apparently now the size of a lemon, with unique fingerprints already developed. Iyla loves when I show her the baby's approximate size with one of her little baby doll figurines- not sure she really conceptualizes what is happening in my belly or what is going to happen 6 months from now, but it's still fun 'modeling' it for her!

Weight gain? I was at 116.8 this morning- so good gracious, that's up another 2 pounds from last week! For curiosity's sake I looked at how much I"d gained when my belly was this big with Iyla (around 23 weeks) and at that time I was up 8 pounds. I am pretty much exactly there, save that I started 2 pounds heavier this round so the actual 'gain' looks like 6 1/2 pounds. I think it is probably good to be gaining in the beginning of the pregnancy, as I know in the 3rd trimester my stomach will be small from all of the belly expansion. Though with Iyla I still managed to pack on about a pound a week at the end! Two words: ice-cream.

13 week belly

Sleep? I'm still doing the B6/Unisom at night. And still waking up quite a few times throughout the night to pee. So… it's OK. Not great, not awful.

Food cravings/aversions? This past week I've been really wanting more fruits and veggies. Devouring blueberries and downing blended juices from our local Juiceland store. Still loving red meat over white. My morning nausea has gotten MUCH better, and I can go a longer stretch until breakfast without feeling ill.

Symptoms? Still very sore chest, fatigue, and sporadic sleep. This week I've also had a weird pulsating ache that comes and goes on my very lower left abdomen- likely where Franny my fibroid is. I'm thinking maybe my expanding uterus is starting to push against it? Also a big uptick in my ocular migraines- which may be due to the Cedar Allergies running rampant in town. I think I've had at least 4 this past week- and am again so thankful that Tylenol + ice seems to be all I need for relief.

Big sister? Iyla is just the sweetest regarding the baby. The cutest thing? Early into my pregnancy I told her I could no longer carry her up our stairs because of the baby (babies at the time) in my belly. So that sweet girl decided to start helping ME 'carry the baby' up the stairs. This equates to her walking up the stairs backwards while holding my belly in a bear hug. She also likes to occasionally do this when we are out walking- she'll announce she wants to 'carry the baby' and then turns backward to clutch my belly.

She has also been so affectionate with me - spontaneously telling me "I love you so much" throughout the day. She will often follow this up by saying: "and I love your baby" as she hugs my belly.


I really think she is going to be an incredible big sister. I am sure there will be adjustments to having another child sharing in our attentions, but overall I think she is going to love it!

Love this kid so much

Most looking forward to? BC and I are hoping to squeeze in one last adults only trip before the baby comes, likely around his birthday at the end of April. It's fun to be in the research/dreaming phase- and so fun to think about having a blissful week of just us together totally relaxing! My wish list for the trip includes gorgeous nature & awesome food. I envision ocean & forest, lots of lazy sleeping in and reading books. So hoping we can make this happen (Grandma- we'll be calling you soon to talk dates!).

Also looking forward to a 14 week ultrasound next week. This is the first week since our loss where I haven't had a check in with the baby, so I am looking forward to reassurance that baby is still growing well.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

12 Week Updates: Baby 2.0

It's taken me awhile to feel comfortable starting these weekly updates, given what we went through with losing one of the babies. I'm happy to say that after the grief subsided I've gotten to a place of peace with the entire situation, as it truly wasn't anything we could control. And with each day and OB appointment that passes I am feeling more and more confident and trusting in this sweet little miracle growing inside me, and as such, feel this baby deserves to have some updates to look back on as well! So here goes….

How far along? 12 weeks exactly today

How big is baby? I had a 12 week ultrasound today to check in, and this baby is measuring ahead of schedule! Looking more like 12w 3 or 4 days (the tech got a couple different measurements). Heart rate was 155, all organs & limbs were exactly where they should be, and holy cow if we don't have a MOVER and SHAKER on our hands! This baby was moving nonstop during the appointment. I swear I've already felt a couple tiny little pops in my tummy (which is what the first kicks feel like) even though it is way early for that… and watching this baby dance nonstop during the appointment made me think maybe I'm not so crazy. I think this one is very determined to let us know they are HERE and alive! Which I am grateful for. : )

Total weight gain? With Iyla, I hardly gained anything during the first trimester. This time around? I started at 110 (two pounds above what I started at with Iyla's pregnancy) and am already up to around 114.8 pounds. And it SHOWS. This belly of mine is pretty insane and hard to hide, looking like I did around 22-23 weeks with Iyla. And let's be honest, there is a whole lot going on in there. One thriving baby measuring ahead of schedule, one passed 8 week old fetus/sack/placenta, a 3rd little sac, plus Franny the fibroid. 

These photos are from last week at about 11w4d:

Seriously insane. No hiding this belly!

And here I am with Iyla at 14 weeks and then 22 weeks. I'm already at least as big as I was at 22 weeks with her, if not bigger!

Maternity clothes? I laugh when I look back at Iyla's updates and see that at this point I was just starting to wear belly bands. This pregnancy I started those at 5 weeks! I am now in full on maternity pants, and even those panels feel tight. My favorite thing right now is my maxi skirt and a few long layered black tops. And I've also had to pull out my old size D pregnancy bras.

Sleep? I was having a lot of sleep issues since the beginning of this pregnancy- waking up constantly throughout the night. Due to this AND the all day nausea I've been experiencing again, I've been doing the 1/2 Unisom + B6 vitamin cocktail each night, and I'm happy to report it's working great. The few nights I haven't taken it I've had much worse daytime nausea, so I am grateful for the twofold relief this is providing.

Food cravings? This has been a similar evolution to Iyla's pregnancy. From around weeks 5-10, I couldn't stomach sweets. Mostly I wanted simple, bland foods like eggs, toast, pasta, & potatoes. Was't wanting any veggies or meat- though I definitely needed daily protein. Then around week 10 I started craving and stomaching sweets again, and have also been on a big red meat kick. I've been a bit naughty this pregnancy and have been having a little bit of coffee every morning- usually 1/2 a cup. It's something I've surprisingly craved…. perhaps that is partly why we have a mover and shaker in there?

Food aversions? Lately cheese, which is interesting- as I craved this during my entire pregnancy with Iyla. I also can't stomach chicken or turkey or anything with complex flavors. I've also been turning my nose up at red pasta sauce- even though I craved that a lot several weeks ago.

Symptoms? All day nausea (curbed by my Unisom/B6 and constant eating). During the time I was pregnant with two babies I did vomit several times, likely from all of the excess hormones going on! Lots of fatigue- I've been trying to sneak in a daily nap and am usually in bed by 9pm nightly. My migraines were amazingly MIA during the first 9 weeks or pregnancy, but I've had around 3-4 since then. Happily if I take Tylenol & use ice packs right when the flashing lights begin I can avoid the headache pain. I've also had a very sore chest since before we even knew we were pregnant.

Most looking forward to? Starting to feel legitimate movement! Moving past the 14 week point. And- in two weeks, a girls' trip to Mexico with 6 of my closest high school girlfriends! I cannot WAIT for that… 4 days of R&R in the sun and surf…. a room all to myself… sleeping in…. all you can eat food… HEAVEN. The only challenge has been finding swimsuits that I feel somewhat decent in. I know, First World Problems.

And now I leave you with Baby Lambert 2.0's 12 week ultrasound shots from today. Our little warrior!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

1 in 3: The Game of Numbers

When I first met with my new IVF clinic last July, the doctor there told me I had a 1 in 3 chance of conceiving through IVF. That's around a 33% shot, and was actually higher than the measly 20% odds I was given at my first clinic during my initial IVF round (which didn't result in a pregnancy).

I ended up producing 14 eggs, 12 of which were mature, 7 of which fertilized. On my 40th birthday, we opted to transfer all 3 embryos that looked ready- as we had been told at my age, 1 in 3 embryos would be genetically and chromosomally sound. We did waffle quite a bit between transferring 2 or 3, and ultimately went for 3 such that we wouldn't have any regrets if a pregnancy did not ensue. They gave me a 45% change of pregnancy with the two, up to 50% with 3 (based on quality)- which was the highest odds I'd EVER gotten. None of the remaining embryos being watched made it to freeze, so this was truly our one and only shot at growing our family.

At 9 days past my 5 day transfer (the equivalent of 14 days past ovulation)- I had a very healthy, strong pregnancy beta reading of 404. This number doubled to 891 two days later, and BC and I were super curious to see how many of the embryos had taken. My pants were already feeling quite tight and I had a noticeable bump developing, so we were suspicious there could be more than one in there.

This was taken at 5 weeks- I didn't have a bump like this until I was closer to 12-13 weeks with Iyla!

My first monitoring exam was scheduled for 6 weeks. I knew that it would likely be too early to hear any heartbeats, but BC and I expected we'd walk away from the appointment knowing how many babies were developing. I opted to have the monitoring done at my local clinic so BC could be there. 

The appointment was…. confusing. As the doctor moved his sonogram wand around, he started counting the sacs he saw…. one…. two….. and then THREE. I literally blurted out "NO!" as I knew that meant all 3 embryos had implanted. Yes, this was a risk we had run transferring 3 embryos, but never anything we fathomed could possibly occur. Further probing showed that 1 of the 3 sacs was much smaller than the other two, and the doctor surmised it would likely not develop. He said he saw what looked to be a fetal pole and yoke sac in the first sac and suspected a heartbeat there, and maaaybe saw a yoke sac in the 2nd larger sac. There was nothing conclusive; BC and I left that appointment joking we had "1 maybe 3" babies in there, and just hoping that we'd hear one strong heartbeat the following week.

I opted to drive to Houston for my 7 week check up, as I wanted the expertise of my IVF doctor at this all important visit. I also hadn't seen him since my initial monitoring, as he was out of the office during my egg retrieval and embryo transfer.

As the sonogram wand moved around he landed first on the smallest of the 3 sacs. He said there WAS a yoke sac in there (holy shit!) but that given its size, it would likely not develop into anything viable. Then he moved to the 1st of the larger sacs. Lo and behold, there was a baby in there measuring at exactly 7 weeks with a strong 123 heart rate! I now held my breath as he moved the wand again…. and there it was. In the 2nd large sac was another baby, measuring 7w1d, with another strong 119 heart rate.


I was, quite literally, in shock. The doctor told me that at this time, there was an 80% chance both babies would continue developing to birth. 

Shock and terror were the emotions that encircled me that first day of getting the news. Of course we knew that twins could be a possibility, but we never thought it would actually happen. I worried about Iyla, and how adding two new babies would affect her life. I worried about finances, as adding two new family members would definitely take a toll, both in equipment and overall care. I worried about my body- I am a petite 5'2 girl- how would I do carrying two babies? Would I need to be put on bed rest? Would the babies come early and have to spend time in the NICU? How would I breastfeed TWO babies? And on and on it went. BC was in a very similar place- when I called to tell him the news, there was deafening silence on the other end of the phone. Also shock and terror. This is the space we lived in for the first few days.

And then, slowly but surely, a tickle of magical excitement began to creep into our hearts. TWINS. What an amazing gift to be given, and how incredible it would be to watch the unique bond of two babies growing up together! I would get my dream family of 3 children after all. It seemed too good to be true, and I felt a sense of peace and completion unlike any I've ever experienced. Don't get me wrong, I was still super nervous about the realities of growing, birthing, and caring for two babies at once- but the excitement started to eclipse the worry. 

At my 8 week monitoring appointment here in Austin, both babies still looked amazing. Baby A measured at 8w1d, Baby B at 8w- both with strong 169 heartbeats. The doctor said there was now a 95% chance they would both continue to birth, and everything started feeling VERY real. I ordered a few books on multiples and started researching equipment we'd need. I joined twin mom forums and introduced myself. BC and I talked about the two little buddies in my belly, and started throwing out different names. We talked logistics with their nursery, about who would come to help upon their arrival, and planned a financial date to talk further about budget. We were having TWINS! We shared with family and close friends and were excited to graduate to my regular doc for our 10 week appointment.

This was my belly at 8w2d, about as big as I was with Iyla at 17-18 weeks

The day of my 10 week appointment came. BC and I were looking forward to meeting up with our beloved local clinic- the team who had delivered our sweet Iyla. It would be such a special pregnancy journey to share with them.

We got into the ultrasound room and began the appointment. The tech was moving the wand all around, and I caught a glimpse of Baby A on the monitor. She kept moving the wand, and I couldn't help but notice when she got to Baby B, she kind of quickly moved past, and as she did I saw that this baby looked quite a bit smaller than Baby A. She measured Baby A and said it was measuring right on track at 10w1 day, with a strong 168 heartbeat. She kept moving the wand around and around and around, saying she was taking extra measurements of my uterus.

After a little more time went by, she said "I'm so sorry, but I can't find a heartbeat in Baby B, who is only measuring at 8w1d." 

Silence. Shock.

There was nowhere in my periphery where I even considered this a possibility- to lose one of the babies after our 8 week appointment when we were told there was a 95% probability they would continue on toward coming home with us in July.

Then the shock was joined by deep, deep grief- which completely shook me and quite honestly surprised me. In an instant this dream we'd been envisioning of twin babies- who had both been growing beautifully in my belly- was gone. There wouldn't be twins. There wouldn't be a family of 3. I hadn't realized how attached I'd already gotten to this idea and to each of these babies. 

And of course, there was deep fear for the remaining Baby A. Who was to say that this baby wouldn't also suddenly stop developing just.like.that? Everything felt so fragile and unsure. I'd gone from a strong, thriving twin pregnancy to a shaky, uncertain place. 

I was told it was very likely Baby A would be just fine, and indeed have heard many tales of the "vanishing twin," where one twin stops developing early in pregnancy and the other continues to develop to full term (the baby that passes typically stays in the uterus and just gets reabsorbed by the body). I read that the time frame between 8-10 weeks is an extra sensitive time for chromosomal abnormalities to reveal themselves, and that many women hear a heartbeat at 8 weeks, only to have the baby stop developing shortly thereafter. Why hadn't anyone prepared me for this possibility? All I had heard was the  95% chance they will both continue to birth- which sounded like a pretty sure thing to me.

Today I am 10w4d… and as far as I know, still pregnant. But terrified of losing the one baby remaining. The sweet midwife at my clinic told me I could come in every single day to hear a heartbeat if I needed to- and for now, we have appointments scheduled at 12 and 14 weeks for reassurance, and I may just stop by next week at 11 weeks to check in.

The deep grief kept hold of me for a solid 2 days, and now with each passing day I am feeling a little better. Quite honestly there is a sense of EASE that comes with re-thinking this as a singleton pregnancy (which I am sure is part of my coping mechanism). I've been there, done that. I have all the equipment. My body knows how to handle and birth one baby. Our finances won't be stretched nearly as far, and we can truly dote on our two children and give them everything. 

I am trying so hard to trust in this baby still inside me… to believe that he/she is meant to be here and is our 1 in 3 fighter. More than ever, BC and I are so glad we ended up transferring all 3 embryos, as who is to say which one of the three was THE one? Obviously the other two played the odds and had something not quite right in their development; now we hold out hope that this baby still growing- this ONE- out of 14 eggs, out of 7 embryos, out of 3 transferred- is our take-home baby. The completion of our family.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't on pins and needles about it all. I hope with each week that passes I'll have more reassurance in this pregnancy and start to be able to really enjoy it. BC feels strongly this baby is our warrior- the one meant to come to us. I am leaning on that for now, as my faith has definitely been shaken. There really isn't any 'frou' to be found in all of this; rather, it seems an act of pure odds- of science and biology.

In the last week Iyla has started snuggling my belly and saying hello to the baby in there…. it is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. We all so dearly want this little one to grow and thrive. 

And the quest continues….