Little Princess Arrives!

She’s here! Our Little Princess arrived on August 25th and we are overjoyed to have her in our arms.

The story of how she came into this world is not what we thought it would be and we are so very grateful that all are now healthy and healing.

Here’s a general outline:

  • Developed late-pregnancy preeclampsia which put me into the hospital at 39 weeks 2 days.
  • Induced that night
  • Put on a magnesium citrate IV (because of high blood pressure/preeclampsia)
  • Dr broke my water
  • Began Pitocin
  • Labored 15 hours- no epidural
  • Pushed for just over an hour- recalling 3 big pushes that popped her out.
  • Tore my cervix
  • Tore down the birth canal
  • Tore my perineal (2nd degree)
  • Tore my labia
  • Uterus wouldn’t contract to stop bleeding
  • Lost 3 liters of blood
  • Placenta didn’t deliver- Dr had to use her hand to scrape it out
  • The placenta was not completely removed
  • Went to OR for a DNC to get the remainder of the placenta out
  • Discovered I had Placenta Accreta– which can be more common for pregnancies resulting from IVF. It is sometimes caused when the lining is too thin upon conception. Although it’s not said to happen with every pregnancy I have, it is a possibility of recurring in the future and therefore my pregnancies moving forward with be considered higher risk.
  • Dr inserted a water-filled balloon into uterus plus 5 feet of gauze to help with bleeding
  • Received 4 bags of blood (transfusions)
  • Spent 36 hours in ICU
  • Reunited with family and began producing milk! A shock to all since I lost so much blood
  • Little Princess latched wonderfully and feeds well
  • Released from hospital after 48 hours in regular postpartum care

What I can say is WOW! What an incredible experience.

Aside from the scare of the after birth- laboring without an epidural was such a cool experience (that I may never do again) and am grateful to have been able to live through.

Feeling her move through my body with every contraction.

Praying for God to help me through the pain and beliving this is what my body has been created to do.

Being fully present with my thoughts and my feelings as I was experiencing this transition from pregnancy to birth.

Although it did not go according to my “Birth Wishes”, I can see God’s hand in every step of the way.

Hubby was an incredible support and stayed with me through every contraction.

What I thought would be a sweaty, exhausting experience was more of an endurance race for my body… no sweat at all! Not like how they show it in the movies 🙂

My lower back muscles fired with every contraction.

My arms clenched to the side of the bed with each bracing of pain.

My abs and whatever other muscles are down in that area moved naturally to push this baby down into position for birthing.

When the pushing began, I had no control over my body.

It took over and it was my sole job to focus my energy from the loud cry to a deep groan and then into a holding of energy to push fully downward.

A capturing of energy from outward to inward and downward.

Such a beautiful science.

What people didn’t tell me:

  • My expectations (even unconscious ones) held me back from seeing the good in the journey and led me to more discouragement.
  • “She is coming ‘soon’”, does not mean in the next 10 minutes or the next hour, it may mean in the next 4-6 hours. I grew to not like the word ‘soon’ as it was too misleading and discouraging.
  • Having a meal during heavy contractions may not be the best idea. I threw it up within the next hour.
  • Ice chips were a lifesaver in the heavy contraction stage!
  • Dilation takes a longer time than I expected. I was hoping to be in active labor when I was still 4 cm dilated.
  • The pain of childbirth is unlike any other pain I have experienced. It’s ongoing, tiring, repetitive, painful.
  • Hours seem long and patience goes out the window when you don’t know how long you’ll be in that state of pain.

The joys certainly outweigh all the hardship– this is a true statement.

Little Princess was and is worth it!

She is perfect.

Arriving into this world weighing 7lbs 6oz, 20 inches long, full head of brown hair and a perfectly round head. I think I pushed so quickly that it didn’t give her head time to reform as it was moving through the birth canal. Her eyes are grey/blue and I’m hoping they stay on the blue side (Hubby has blue eyes) but am ok if she is a brown-eyed girl (like her mama).

I’m not going to say I won’t birth another child. Maybe next time I’ll go the route of the epidural. Part of the reason I wanted to go without was to be able to A) fully experience the feeling of her moving through my body (which I did and it was amazing!) and B) so I could be fully alert with her afterward.

Given that I didn’t get to live out the second half of that desire and still be okay with my bonding and connection shows that in the future, it might be okay to have the pain relief.

Swedish Hospital was an incredible place to have this traumatic delivery. I was amazed at the care and attention of each of the nurses and staff to me, Hubby and Little Princess. I felt completely taken care of and seen as a person, not just another patient.

Huge shout outs to the following nurses: Mackenzie, Becky, Allison, Mel, Callie, (there were 2 in the ICU that I had that I was too foggy to remember), Kelly, Terri, Mandy, Dani, and the lactation consultant Dotti.


Our journey is not over, as it’s simply just beginning.

I am amazed at how in love with this little peanut I am.

Years of wanting her. Desiring a little one and scared of letting go of my independent, self-centered lifestyle.

One thing I know for sure- the writing of my fertility journey may be over for the time being, but my thoughts and struggles, experiences and trials of being a selfless, caring, discerning, trusting mom are just beginning.

For those of you who have read this blog looking for connection in the fertility journey, I do hope you have felt understood. I certainly have not been alone as I have walked this road and found the more open I have been about my own struggles and emotions, the more connection I have felt.

To those still on the journey- know that it is worth it. Each poke of the needle, pop of a pill, inconvenient Dr. appointment, etc… it’s all worth it to have a little tiny human in your arms, loving and needing you.

We are not sure what our future holds with more children. We would like to have another or more but know that it might look more in the form of adoption than another IVF journey. Hey, we are even open to conceiving all-natural! 🙂 We will see what God has in store for us. For now, we are grateful to have this little one.

Bittersweet: week 37

What a gift these past nine-plus months have been for me. I can’t believe we are weeks away from meeting our baby girl!

It’s been a hot summer and yet I have been so fortunate to have time off from my work to sleep and take care of myself.

Over the past two weeks, my body is progressively feeling more sluggish and the water retention makes me feel like a water balloon.

Crazy to say, I LOVE this!

I really don’t want the pregnancy to end.

I know, I know. It will only get better when she is in my arms. I believe that to be true as well. But I will never be pregnant with her again.

I have loved feeling her kicking and moving on my insides.

Being with her everywhere I go.

I feel bonded and connected to her in a way that only a mother can and I am feeling this sense of gratitude for the mere opportunity to carry a child.

We have waited for FOUR YEARS as a couple to become pregnant.

I myself have wondered for 20 YEARS if I was going to be able to experience this incredible gift of pregnancy.

Now that I have been living it, I don’t want it to end.

I understand the purpose of pregnancy is to deliver and raise a baby to a child to a young adult.

For me though, I knew I would always have children (through adoption if needed) so I knew that the raising of a child would be in my future.

It’s this precious period and the gift of pregnancy that was so unknown to me- so desired.

Will I ever be able to experience pregnancy again?

I pray this to be the case.

At the same time, I’m aware that this may have been my one opportunity.

What a great one it has been.

I mourn the ending of such a sweet time in my life.

The way I feel in my body, carrying this life, is something I pray to never forget.

People look at me with a precious look of endearment and excitement.

I feel this look only happens to pregnant women.

Once Maxee comes, I will join the ranks of all the other women who are mothers and this special space of pregnancy will be in my past.

I’ve heard it said before, “don’t be sad that it’s over, but happy that it happened”.

I can soak in every moment of this pregnancy and know that I have made the very most of it.


UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_89cc.jpg

Many have commented that they ‘bet I’m ready for her to come out and have my body back’.

Partially yes, I’m ready to be able to roll over in bed or get off the couch without pulling on Hubby or strategically maneuvering my limbs to prop me up. I’m ready to get back to jogging and bending over to stretch my hamstrings.

In reality, though, I don’t want to wish away any minute of this gift.

God, thank you for gifting me with the experience of growing and carrying my child inside of me. Thank you for allowing me to share my body with this sweet little human and provide a safe and healthy home for her to grow and form.

Thank you for entrusting me with one of your precious children.

May these final weeks be savored and these 10 months be engrained in my memory as an example of your love, grace, almighty ability to create life and power for redemption.

Are we pregnant?!

Tick, tock… tick… tock.

The minutes seem to be slugging by as we wait for the phone to ring. I cleverly changed the ring for “Shady Grove Fertility” to a soft, chipper ring so I wouldn’t get my hopes up when my normal ring chimed.

I read, journal, check Facebook.

My LabCorp account states the bloodwork has been delivered to my doctor’s office.

We wait.Image result for blank pregnancy test

At 9:01am, the bouncy musical ring chimes from my phone.
I hop up, prance into the office so Hubby and I can answer together.

“Hello,” I say.

“Hi Hilary, this is Christine from Shady Grove Fertility, how are you?”

We exchange pleasantries.

“Well, I have the results from your lab and…

CONGRATULATIONS

you are pregnant!”

 

Wahoo! We are pregnant! What an overwhelm of excitement that washes over me.

She continues that she would like for me to have another blood draw in 2 days to make sure my HcG is increasing at a healthy rate. We will then do a vaginal ultrasound to confirm the heartbeat at week 6.

Smiling from ear to ear, I take down the information.

m%Wx4toVQXWfEW9ZZbJGeQ_thumb_87df.jpg

So, how far along am I? I ask.

Today is 4 weeks and 5 days.

Holy cow! I think

Your due date on August 28, 2019.

I can’t believe it!

I guess the medical field begins counting day 1 on the day of my last period and since we went through IVF, the day of the transfer was already 2 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

Incredible!

Woah… we are pregnant!


For the next two days, it’s all so surreal.

I have heard many stories of people miscarrying (even with IVF) and so I am holding my breath.

I want to shout the great news from the rooftop but am also scared that I’m counting my chicken before it hatches.

Hubby and I decide to wait for this next blood test to let out a little sigh of relief.

We also know that we have a few more major milestones to hit before we can really celebrate and share this information with all the world to know*.

  • The second blood test to show an increase in HcG means the fetus is growing.
  • The 6-week transvaginal ultrasound to hear the heartbeat and measure the fetus
    1. Most pregnancies will have the first ultrasound at 10-12 weeks, but since I am still under the care of Shady Grove, they are ensuring this pregnancy is viable.
  • Getting to week 13 to know we are through the first trimester with a healthy baby

Two days later I get an early morning blood draw.

Within a couple of hours, the same cheery ring comes through my phone.

Confirmed: a healthy increase in HcG, we are on track for a healthy, wonderful pregnancy!

 

(* I hate to disappoint anyone but I hope you will forgive me as I have not been posting in real-time. Out of protection for our hearts in this process Hubby and I decided to put a little space between the actual dates of this happening and when it was shared with the world… we are excited to report at this moment of posting we are currently 12.5 weeks pregnant!!)

 

 

 

IVF: Phase 2… preparing the 9-month “home”

The start of phase two of IVF has begun. Once we set a transfer date, Dr. O’Brien counted the days leading up to the transfer by going backward. Eighteen days from ending birth control, 17 days from my first ultrasound after all the waiting. Everything looks clear and we are set to go.

I begin with Estrace, an estrogen pill, which I will take 3 times a day. Fortunately for me, this same estrogen pill was what I used earlier in my fertility journey as a suppository so I am grateful to be ingesting it this time. I will do this for 11 days and then go in for another ultrasound.

The side effects aren’t horrible, and in fact, I can hardly notice a change in my being. Might this be because I am comparing it to the ridiculous amount of hormones I just rid my body of over these past weeks, possibly?

It feels good to be on medication that is helping without making me into a witch.

The goal is to grow my uterine lining so that it’s nice and ready for little Maxwell Bean to nestle in.

My days continue as normal, not thinking too much about the transfer date, which is less than 2 weeks away!

I am grateful to not be consumed with thoughts about what the transfer will be like or if it will take. Instead, I am happily practicing living in this moment, as my body prepares a little home.

Image result for pills and shotsOn day 11 of this routine, I go in for what I hope is my final ultrasound before we fly.

The lining needs to be at least 8mm thick with no major follicles growing.

My doctor didn’t even prescribe me Lupron (an ovulation suppressant drug). My theory is because it took major dosage for me to produce follicles in the first place that she is not concerned about my body deciding to produce follicles now.

She is correct, no follicles and my lining is just shy of 8mm, sitting at 7.25mm. The little home is getting ready!

Dr O gives the green light to proceed!

I am so excited and we move forward to book our car rental and hotel for the night we will be staying in Maryland.

Yet, what’s next is not enjoyable.

I always imagined IVF to be full of shots in the rear-end, but up until this point, it has been in my abdomen or pills… not bad and not too painful.

That is about to change.

Starting tomorrow, I (ok Hubby) will shoot 1ml of progesterone oil into the intermuscular area of my buttock every morning precisely at 7:15am. If I falter 10-15 minutes, it could cancel the transfer!

Nurse Christine gives me some pointers on how to help this not be as painful. I wasn’t worried about a shot until she began to explain how it’s ok to use a heating pad after and to be sure to switch sides eatery day so as to not completely hurt one side.

She explains this is an oil-based liquid so it’s a little thicker so it may burn a tinge.

Uh… what is about to happen to me?

She also shares it’s best if Hubby administers the shot for a better angle and then jokes, “unless you like to inflict pain on yourself”.

Eek! What is this going to be like?

She also gives me instructions for the day of transfer.

The transfer is set for noon, arrive at the clinic at 11:30 with a photo ID. Be sure to empty my bladder completely at 10:45am and then proceed to drink 16oz of water before 11am. Don’t use the bathroom after 11am. A fuller bladder helps Dr. O position the catheter more precisely as to release the embryo in the correct location.

I have my marching orders.

Turkey Baster

The medication worked! We have 2 major follicles (19mm and 17mm) that are presenting strong and proud on the ultrasound screen.

We’re making a baby here folks!

Dr. G is happy with the results and scheduled our IUI for 4 days from now.

I’m not a patient person and was ready to give myself the trigger shot of HCG today and be ready to go in 2 days but am trusting Dr. G knows what he’s doing.

I’m thrilled! This cycle is not lost and we have a shot, even at twins, ha!

God, thank you for being so good to us. I trust that these extra 3 days were for your purpose and in your plan and give these next few days over to you.

(TMI ALERT)

I’m a little scared because tonight before bed I noticed my cervical mucus is stringy, like egg yolk. Everything I have read points this to mean that I’m on the verge of ovulation.

I pee on an Ovulation stick, an “O” stares back at me, meaning not ovulating.

Okay, maybe this is just pre-ovulation fluid, I try and convince myself.

I become a little upset that we aren’t triggering ovulation tonight in order to catch this timing correctly.

What do I know though? The only thing I know about this type of stuff is what I have read on Google and heard through my friends.

God, I trust you.

I say this over and over again, calming my fears.

I lay down to rest for the night… God, I trust you.


I wake up, pee on the stick, still an “O” starring at me. My mucus is still slick and I am a bit fearful that we’ve missed it. I can’t think about this though, I have to trust what the Dr. is saying.

The plan is to wake up at 1am tonight/tomorrow to give me the HCG trigger shot. It has to be administered 36-hours prior to the IUI appointment.

I’m less than thrilled.

The shot is a compact dose of HCG hormone. Vaccine_640.jpg

It sends heat through my body and I am overtaken with hormones.

I can’t go back to sleep.

I stay up for the next hour, reading.

God, how am I supposed to go to work tomorrow on such little sleep?

Oh my gosh, how am I going to have babies who need me in the middle of the night if I can’t even do this one time?

I am psyching myself out.

I take a deep breath.

I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

God, I trust in your timing and your plans. I trust that you know what is best for us and you know what our futures hold. I leave all these worries in your hands and will do what you have placed in front of me to do, today.


The IUI day is here.

I don’t know what to expect and am a bit fearful because I’m not experiencing any of the ovulation cramping I have in the past. This just feeds my fears that my ovulation window has passed and we are about to spend $400+ dollars on a procedure that is worthless because the egg has already come and gone.

How quickly I enter into the negativity.

It really doesn’t help me to be thinking this way or to be in fear.

I just don’t know how else to be in situations of unknown. I am changing my mind around to be in faith and trust that this is the perfect timing.

Hubby goes in at 11am for his contribution to this effort.

He signs some papers and labels what he needs to with his name and date of birth.

His part is done.

For the next 2 hours, the nurses clean it and test the swimmers. They take out all the swimmers who didn’t show up for the race and label each swimmer with a “0, 1, 2, or 3”- based on motility.

Only the “3’s” make it back into the tube.thin-test-tube.png

After sorting through all of them, they are ready for me.

I follow up at 1pm for my procedure.

I check in and am directed downstairs to receive the swimmers. I have to sign paperwork and double check that the labels all have the information of Hubby. They walk through the process of how they cleaned the swimmers and also showed me how they ensure that these swimmers in front of me are the same as Hubby.

I am impressed with the concise and thorough process of confirming that these swimmers are meant for me.

I head back upstairs with the swimmers in my hand. Not to shake them or tip the tube as they are all ready for me.

I’m scared that this is our one shot at it and it may already be unsuccessful just at the mere chance that the egg is gone.
I have to stop this thinking.

I choose to believe that there is an egg (or two) just getting ready to be released.

I choose to believe that there are swimmers at the ready.

It’s as though we are getting the two together at a party and saying, “here, meet each other”.

I’ve done all that I can.

What would help the most at this moment is for me to relax and take deep breaths. There’s nothing to fear, nothing to control, nothing that I can do to help anything more than what we’ve already done.

I just have to BE.

Calm, peaceful, hopeful.


What an experience.

I walk into the room with the nurses and they were so incredibly reassuring.

Praise God!

I spoke with the nurses and they don’t feel it’s too late.

In fact, they said the timing seems right on and to stop Googling!

There were two nurses helping with the efforts and although it was not the most enjoyable experience when the catheter is inserted, it’s wonderful to know those swimmers got all the way up there.

And now we wait, pray and trust.