Twenty weeks and beyond

As Alex and I adjusted to the news that we had just found out with our little mister, we still couldn’t be happier with this amazing blessing that we had been given.

We went to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City on a beautiful December morning.  We checked in, filled out all the paperwork, and went back to have our fetal echo completed. Now, there’s something that I have left out about our little mister.  He HATES the littlest bit of pressure on my belly.  Ultrasounds are always super tricky, and so is listening to him with the Doppler.  This echo was no different.  The poor ultrasound tech was getting so frustrated, because she would find the perfect view, and mister would move.  I felt so bad because there was nothing that I could do! Luckily, with a little patience on her part, and lots of re-positioning and a few good stern talks to mister (They never work, but I like to pretend that they do! :D) She was able to complete the ultrasound.  The fellow came in and took some pictures while the tech went and reviewed the ultrasound with the attending.  Shortly after, the attending came in and informed us that his heart looked perfect for his gestational age (25 weeks).  He couldn’t see any abnormalities or anything.  He cautioned us that there was still a possibility that as he was born, one of the holes could not close properly, but we would monitor for murmurs and cross that path if we came to it.

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(I snapped this picture from the parking lot.  It doesn’t do the view any justice.  It was SO pretty that morning!)

We prepped for Christmas, and had a wonderful holiday with our family.  We celebrated New years, even if we happened to celebrate the actual new year in bed as I was fighting to stay awake! We couldn’t have asked for a better holiday season, as not only were we greatly blessed, but little mister was blessed and spoiled as well!

I returned to work (I work for a local school district and had been off for Christmas break.) and was looking forward to our next anatomy scan at 31 1/2 weeks and getting to see our little boy.  I’m not sure I could ever survive a “normal” pregnancy, because I’ve grown so accustom to having ultrasounds all the time and getting to see our sweet precious babies.  The thought of only having 2-3 ultrasounds the entire pregnancy, is mind blowing to me! Anyway, as luck would have it, little mister had different plans for me.

It was a snowy Thursday morning.  I got up, got ready for work, and left early because I had a feeling the roads would be terrible.  I got to work and went about my day.  Around noon, I realized that I hadn’t been feeling mister as much as I normally do.  I had some juice, sat down at my desk and waited to see.  Luckily, he gave me a few good kicks and I relaxed, just a little bit. I went home for the day, made sure I had plenty of water, and rested.  Now, remember when I said earlier that we have a very active baby? Well, as the afternoon and evening went on, he still wasn’t as active as he should be.  I laid down and did some kick counts, and they were down as well.  Alex was at school, so I texted him and told him my concerns.  We decided that I should probably go in and be checked, just to be safe.

When we arrived, they hooked me up to the monitor, and we heard his beautiful heartbeat, and all of his wiggles as he was trying to escape the monitor.  I relaxed as I knew he was okay.  However, also showing on the monitor, were some pretty consistent contractions.  They asked me if I could feel them, and I answered honestly.  The truth was, I had been feeling them all day, and had noticed they were a little more intense than normal, but, I was more concerned about the fact that I couldn’t feel little man anymore.

They did a swab on my cervix that tells them if I am going to go into labor in the next two weeks or not.  It tests for a protein that is excreted around your uterus when you are supposedly close to delivery. My test came back positive,  and with my cervix being dilated to a 1 and 50% effaced, I then received the first dose of steroid shots to help develop misters lungs in case he were to be born soon. They also started me on an oral medication that is supposed to relax the uterus and slow contractions. All of this took place around 11:00-midnight-ish. I was moved to a different room, where I would be staying the night to be observed and make sure the medication was working.

Around 1:30 a.m., my nurse came into my room and told me that they didn’t really like the fact that I was still having regular contractions, so they would be starting a magnesium sulfate drip.  This drip is given to help the baby, again if it is born premature, with any bleeding that could occur on the brain.  It also could help with the contractions.

This medication, is of the devil.  They warned me that I would feel horrible, and they weren’t joking! As soon as it started going in, I literally felt like I had been hit by a bus! However, the contractions slowed down and things were looking better.  In regular people morning hours, I made the venture downstairs to see MFM.  Everything looked good, Mister still had dilated kidneys, his ventricles were holding which is a good thing, his femurs were measuring about a week behind, and I suddenly had extra amniotic fluid.  Both of these are markers for trisomy 21. Besides those new findings, they suggested we stop the Mag drip (hallelujah!) and I come in for weekly non stress tests just to monitor the baby and make sure he was doing okay.  I returned to labor and delivery, they stopped the drip and switched me back to the oral medication.  My body behaved well, and I was able to come home the next day.

Today, a week and a half later, i’m still at home on bed rest and mister is still inside, happily growing and swimming away in his extra large pool.  I still take the medication every 6 hours if I have contractions (I’ve only been able to space it out while i’m sleeping, during the day, I take it pretty close to every 6 hours), and I feel like a ticking time bomb. We’ve made it to 32 weeks, which is a huge milestone and goal to me.  Now, the goal is to get him to 34 weeks and let his little lungs develop a little bit more.  Really, the goal is to get him to this Saturday, so that I can attend my baby shower! Its the little steps and goals we look forward too!

The beginning of our current little mister

When you become pregnant after loosing a baby, whether it be from a miscarriage, still birth, neonatal loss, or infant loss, they call the baby that follows a rainbow baby.  Why a “rainbow” baby you ask?  Because a beautiful rainbow always follows a dark storm.

We became pregnant with little mister at the end of June, early July of 2016.  We did a frozen embryo transfer in June when we transferred one embryo.  We consider ourselves beyond lucky to have had our transfer work,  and to become pregnant with another sweet little baby.

Things started out very well in the beginning with the pregnancy.  The baby was growing like it should be, I was sick which always means good things to me, we were happy.  My regular OB wanted to see me sooner than normal just to make sure that we watched this pregnancy very closely.  I started going to the perinatologists (MFM) who would follow me closely and intervene if needed at 12 weeks.  I was scheduled to see them every two weeks as they would measure my cervix length and make sure that it was holding strong and I wouldn’t need a cerclage. I started taking a once a week shot of progesterone to help calm the uterus and help prevent preterm labor.

At 16 weeks, I started to have anatomy scans when I went to MFM every four weeks.(I was going in for a cervical length scan every two weeks, and they did an anatomy scan every 4) We discovered at this appointment that we were blessed to be expecting another little boy! As the doctor told me, apparently we are boy makers! Also on the ultrasound, it showed that our little babe had renal pyelectasis.  Basically, his kidneys were a little bit bigger than they like to see, but the doctor made sure to let me know that this is very common in boys, as they tend to not pee out all that is in there.  She said we would monitor it and make sure that it didn’t become an issue. At this time, the MFM doctor also asked me if I had my quad marker screen drawn yet. I told her that I had, but I didn’t know the results.  She left to look up the results and told me she would be back.

When she returned to the room, she told me that my results had come back positive, and they were indicating towards trisomy 21, commonly known as down syndrome. She said this made our odds of our baby having down syndrome 1 in 48.  She also said that with the findings of the dilated kidneys, this was a soft marker for down syndrome. She urged me to have further genetic testing completed, and gave me two options for this. 1. have an amniocentesis done or 2. have a cell free DNA lab test drawn.  The amniocentesis came with a risk of pregnancy loss, so it was thrown out the window as soon as I heard that.  I opted for the blood test on my part. The nurse came in, filled out the lab packet for the test, and I went to the out patient lab to have the test drawn. The results were supposed to take about a week before we heard anything.  After a week had gone by, I hadn’t heard anything.  So, I called MFM to find out what was going on.  Come to find out, my blood sample had broken in the mail, and I needed to have it redrawn.  I’m glad I called to follow up! I went in that day and had the test redrawn, and four days later, we had the results back.

It was the week of Thanksgiving, and I was at my parents house when my phone rang. I answered it, and it was the genetic counselor for our MFM clinic.  She told me that my results had come back, and that she needed to talk to me about them.  Never really a positive happy thing to hear, but I had been having this little feeling inside that I knew that’s how my phone call would end up.

The results of our cell free DNA test had come back positive for trisomy 21.  This meant that we were now looking at a 98% chance that our baby would have trisomy 21, down syndrome. The genetic counselor then proceeded to say that with the kidneys that were dilated, and the recent findings of slightly elevated ventricles in his brain, they were pretty positive that it was more of a 100% chance that we were looking at down syndrome. She gave me some resources, and scheduled for us to have a fetal echo-cardiogram completed to get a more in depth look at his heart.

Alex and I took this information in and tried our best to accept it.  Alex struggled a little at first with the loss of dreams he had.  (I’ll have him touch on this more in the future when I ask him to write about it!) My mind went to worrying about what it meant for the future.  Luckily, we both have very supportive families that we knew would help us get through this challenge!

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(His 3D ultrasound picture at 20 weeks)

 

 

Where we are now

I understand that there is a lot that has happened in the middle of my story.  Trust me when I say its  A LOT.  I promise I will get to all of it, I really do.  I just feel like I need to get to where we are today. Details might be a little sparse, but again, I promise I will touch on everything.  Alex will make sure of it.  🙂

Fast forward to the end of March 2016.  Out of the blue, my cell phone rang, and as I looked to see who it was, it was our fertility clinic.  Apparently they call around that point to check and see how patients are doing in their pregnancy.  I laid it all out there for the poor medical assistant on the other end.  According to Alex, during this time frame, I was very blunt and honest with people, probably more than I should have been! She apologized and said she had no idea.  She asked if we wanted an appointment to come in and talk to our doctor about what happened.  I agreed, partially because I just wanted to get off the phone with her. Before I knew it, Alex and I were sitting back in the office where it all started, talking to the same man who helped us get what we wanted before.

We planned to do an emrbyo transfer, and set everything up to complete it.  I again needed to have a hysteroscopy.  We completed this in April, they ended up removing a lot of retained placenta, and we were told we had to wait a month before we could proceed with anything.  We waited until school was out for the summer, and we did a frozen embryo transfer.  We transfer one embryo to help decrease our risk of having twins. We were lucky and this cycle worked for us, and we ended up pregnant with one sweet little babe.

I was sick just like I was with my previous pregnancy, and we were being monitored VERY closely.  I started going to the maternal fetal medicine doctors at twelve weeks, and returned to their clinic every two weeks to make sure things were going okay.

As part of a routine pregnancy, my regular OB and the MFM doctors advised me to have the quad marker screen test completed.  I agreed, and the test was completed.  At an appointment to the MFM clinic, the doctor asked me if I had the test completed yet.  I told her that I had, and that I wasn’t sure of the results because I had not been back to my regular OB, and no one had called me the results. She said she would look them up for me after we discussed the ultrasound.  This was a routine visit for MFM.  You have basically an anatomy scan, they scan my cervix and measure it, the doctor comes in and we go over the ultrasounds, make a plan, and I head out on my merry way.

At this appointment, I was 16 weeks along.  We had found out that we were having a little boy! This excited me and made me nervous all at the same time.  The doctor also talked with me about how his kidneys were a little dilated on the ultrasound.  She said it wasn’t something that we should worry about, that boys sometimes tend to have this.  She then left the room to check on my quad marker screen results.  A few minutes later, she returned to my room.  She told me that my quad marker screen had come back positive and was pointing towards trisomy 21, commonly known as down syndrome.  She said this test narrowed it down that we would have a 1 in 48 chance that our baby would have down syndrome.  She then talked to me about what this meant with the kidneys on the ultrasound.  She said that a baby with dilated kidneys is a marker for down syndrome, and she advised me to have further testing completed.  She presented me with two options. 1. I could have an amniocentesis completed and it would tell us 100% if the baby has down syndrome or not.  She also had to advise me that there was a risk of pregnancy loss that can be associated with having an amniocentesis done.  Option 2 was to have a blood test done, a cell free DNA.  The results of that test are 98% accurate and it was a simple blood test on my part. Given our history, she was the least bit surprised when I opted to have the blood test completed in stead.  A 98% answer was surely better than the risk of a pregnancy loss.

The nurse for MFM came in, filled out the packet for me, and sent me to the lab.  They instructed me that I should hear from the specialty lab where my blood was being sent within 3-5 days telling me that it had arrived.  Well, 5 days later, I hadn’t heard anything.  I called the MFM clinic and they looked into it for me.  Come to find out, my blood sample had broken in the mail and they didn’t have enough to complete the test.  I had to go back in, have another sample drawn and sent off.  This would push our test results back.  Oh, and to add to it all, this was the week before Thanksgiving!

Luckily, I had some luck on my side.  The results came back sooner than normal, and we received them before the holiday. The genetic counselor for our clinic called me and told me the results. I had been to MFM just the day before an ultrasound, and this time, our little babe still had elevated kidneys, and slightly elevated ventricles in his brain.  Both markers for down syndrome. When I spoke with the genetic counselor, she told me that the test had come back positive yet again.  She said that with those results, and the findings on the ultrasounds, they feel very strongly that our little man would most likely have down syndrome.

Fast forward to January.  I promise i’ll come back to our findings and give more details. I’m 30 weeks pregnant. Braxton hicks contractions had started back around Christmas. Our little mister was an active little fart who was moving constantly. Everything was going as great as it could.

On Thursday January 12th, I went to work like any normal day.  It had been snowing that morning just like it had many mornings so far in January. I made it to work, and went about my day.  Around noon, I realized that I hadn’t felt our little man move as much as I normally did. I tried to play it off, but i’m never really good at that.  I drank some juice and sat at my desk doing work on my computer trying to pay attention to how many times he was moving.  He gave me a few movements, and I finished out my day a little more at rest.

I got home and tried to take it easy.  I drank a lot of water and laid down to rest.  I still wasn’t feeling him move as much as I normally did.  I checked his heart beat with the doppler we have at home, and he was right where he normally was.  I just had the uneasy feeling into the evening and finally told Alex about it around 7:30-8:00.  He asked me if I thought we needed to go in and get checked, and I told him for my sanity, I did.

We made it to the hospital a little after 9:00. They hooked me up to the monitor and a beautiful heartbeat could be heard, and so could lots of movement! I just couldn’t feel those movements.  Also showing on that lovely monitor, was the fact that I was having regular contractions about every 6 minutes or so.  I had noticed the contractions earlier that day, but I was so worried about him not moving, that that’s all I focused on.

Long story short, they ended up keeping me over night, they tried an oral medication to help calm the contractions, it didn’t help.  I then had to go on a magnesium drip to help with little misters brain and to prevent any bleeding in case I did end up delivering.  They told me I would feel miserable on the drip, and let me tell you, they weren’t joking!  Luckily though, it did help with the contractions and they became less consistent. They took me off the magnesium drip mid Friday morning and switched me back to an oral medication.  They then sent me home Saturday morning with a prescription to take when I had a contraction, and orders to be on modified bed rest for at least two weeks.

So, i’m currently 32 weeks pregnant, hanging out at home on bed rest.  I’m making weekly visits to my OB for a non stress test and an appointment.  Each day is an accomplishment that I don’t go into labor.  I told Alex I feel like a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off!

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The weekend our world was turned upside down part B

As the evening settled down and we had spent all day loving our sweet Jaxson boy, Alex and I were both exhausted. Considering Alex had gotten no sleep the night before, and I had only a little shy of two hours, we were pooped.

Alex laid down on his couch bed, and I tried to calm my mind enough to let me sleep.  As luck would have it with a pregnant lady, as soon as you get all situated and comfortable in bed, you have to use the restroom.  It never fails, trust me. As I was getting up and making sure that my best friend Mr. IV pole was tagging behind me, I remember very distinctly hearing a voice, clear as day say, “James has to go too.”  James was the name that we had picked our for baby B.  I ignored this voice, and argued in my head that it was from of lack of sleep and over stress.  I was doing fine.  I wasn’t having any contractions, I was feeling great.

I made it back to bed, got comfortable, settled in, and attempted to sleep the best one could in a hospital. I managed to pull off a few hours, and was woken up around 4:00 by having to use the restroom again.  I again got up, took my best friend with, returned to bed, and tried to get comfortable.  I wasn’t able to fall asleep, so I stayed awake and held the body of our sweet Jaxson boy.

A little after 5:00 a.m., I again felt like I needed to use the restroom, so, I got up, lugged my pole along with me.  Only this time, something had changed.  When I went to wipe in the bathroom, there was a cord hanging down.  It was the cord from Jaxsons placenta, stitches and all.  I yelled for Alex and I hurried and finished up.  He helped me get into bed and we called for the nurse. At this point, I was shaking uncontrollably.  As soon as she came in, the contractions started back up nice and strong. They hurried and paged the doctor who was on call for the night, and Alex called my family.  I felt horrible because it was 6:00 a.m, which was the time these poor nurses were supposed to be going home, and just starting their shifts.  And here I was, making sure to add a little excitement.

The doctor was luckily already at the hospital and was in our room within minutes.  She checked me, and sure enough I was dilated and she could feel baby parts as well.  His delivery was much more traumatic for me.  I knew what it meant to push him out.  I knew that the best place for him was inside of me.  I remember looking at Alex and sobbing to him that I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t push him out.He held my hand and told me I was strong and could do it.  The doctor instructed me to push a couple of times, and soon my water broke.   It only took a couple more pushes before we welcomed our sweet baby B, James Allan into the world at 6:47 a.m.  I remember the doctor handing him to me right away, and telling me that she may ask me to push a couple more times, but just to focus on our sweet boy.

As soon as they handed him to me, He opened his little hand and grabbed onto my pinky finger.  My mommy heart almost burst in happiness and being utterly devastated at the same time.

We enjoyed just a little over an hour with our James before he too left us to join his older brother and Heavenly father.  We again were surrounded by our family, the sweet and amazing bereavement specialist from the day before, and amazing nurses who were so heartbroken for us.

We spent the rest of the day being a family of four.  It’s not how we pictured it at all, but it was the situation that we were dealt. We still to this day wonder why were chosen to be the parents of two amazing little boys who were too special to be on this earth, and who were needed to for greater missions in heaven.

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The weekend our world was turned upside down Part A

It was a Saturday morning.  It had been foggy the previous night, and it hadn’t quite cleared out yet.  Alex loaded my bag into the car, and we set off to the hospital.

When we arrived, we parked close to the doors in “Labor and delivery only” parking.  A security guard was standing by the doors and questioned us as to why we parked there. Alex kindly explained to him that I was in labor and we were heading up to be checked in. I was impressed with how well Alex handled that situation, because I knew he was beyond stressed.

We got up the fifth floor, labor and delivery.  We picked up the phone (its a locked unit) and I explained to the lady that I had been having contractions, and my doctors office had advised me to come in and get checked out.  She let us in, and called the head nurse for a room to put me in.   Soon we were being lead to room 16.

Once in the room, they gave me a gown to change into, told me they would need a urine sample, and that a nurse would be in shortly. Once changed, I settled into the bed and waited.  The head nurse for the shift was soon in our room.  She hooked the babies up to the monitor, and did the best she could to find their heartbeats, considering how little they were.  I was having regular contractions that she could feel on my stomach, but that the monitor wasn’t picking up.  She checked me to see if I was dilated at all, and once she felt my bag of water, she stopped checking and advised we wait for the doctor.

The OB office that I go to has you rotate through all of the doctors in the clinic, because they rotate being on call at the hospital.  They like you to do this so that you can get to know each of them, since you never know who will be there the day you deliver. Lucky for me, this particular weekend happened to be one of the doctors I had seen in my short visits to the office, and one that I really liked.  He came in and checked me, and told me that I was dilated to 3, I was 50% effaced, and that he could definitely feel baby A’s amniotic sac. He said the plan was to monitor over the weekend, strict bed rest, and see where we were Monday morning.

We let our families know, Alex ran home to grab a few things that we had forgotten, and that I needed in order to make it through the long weekend.  He returned and we settled in for our stay. We were an emotional mess.  I was scared.  I knew the outcome, and it wasn’t a very good one.  I knew that viability for babies was 24 weeks, and with twins, it was slim at 24 weeks for them to both live.  I tried not to stress, but it was hard.

We had a nurse (our nurse assigned to us at the time) who came into our room a couple of times and told us that she wanted to talk to us.  She finally came in and sat down and talked.  I still to this day, refer to her as the “dooms day nurse”.  Why is that you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  She sat down on the stool next to my bed and told Alex and I that if we wanted to keep these babies in, I had to lay in trendelenburg position at all times, not get up to even use the bathroom.  She highly recommended that I get used to the idea of using the bathroom at all times while in bed.  I would do this for weeks, and I would be 100% committed to doing that if I wanted my babies to have any chance at all. She then went on to say that even if we did try that, we would probably end up having our babies pass away anyway.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I understand that she was trying to help us see the reality of the situation, but Alex and I were both very much aware of the situation.  I sobbed for easily an hour after she left our room.  Luckily, the unit was slow and they sent her home around 8:00  that night.  I couldn’t have been happier, especially because she was replaced with the sweetest nurse possible.

As I laid in bed, I sat watching the contraction monitor barely picking up any of the contractions I was feeling.  I remember laying there at midnight and watching it switch from me being 20.6 weeks to 21 weeks and thinking to my self “Just a few more weeks babies, we can do this.” I then drifted off to sleep.

Just before 2:00 AM, I woke up to a popping sound, and sudden complete wet feeling.  I called out to Alex in a panic voice and told him that my water had just broke.  I quickly called the nurses, and within seconds, we had three lovely nurses in our room who helped me change my gown and changed out my bedding.  I asked what this meant, and all they told me was they were contacting the doctor on call.  They transformed my room around, clearing things out, setting things up, etc.  I still had the monitors on, and I wasn’t contracting anymore than I was before.

Before too long, the neonatologist who was on that night was in our room talking with us.  She was telling me what I already knew.  That if the babies were to come tonight, there would be nothing they could do.  Where we did IVF, we knew exactly how old the babies were, and they were just too little.  I appreciated her coming over, but it didn’t really help me any.

Around 3:00, my contractions changed.  They were much more painful than they had been and were starting to get closer.  I called out to my nurse, and she was in my room shortly after.  She told me that I was in active labor and that I unfortunately was going to deliver that night. Soon after, the pressure came, and I had the feeling to push.  The charge nurse had already set up for a delivery, and checked me to see if I was progressing.  I had passed my bloody show, and she could feel baby parts as she checked.  They had already paged the on call doctor who lived about 10 minutes away from the hospital, and he was on his way.  We called my family to let them know what had happened, and they were on their way as well.  Little did Alex and I know, but it was incredibly foggy outside, and visibility was poor.  I remember feeling like I needed to push, and the nurses told me to try not to push, and to wait for the doctor.  This was around 4:00. The doctor arrived soon after, I pushed, and we welcomed our sweet little “baby a”, Jaxson Charles into the world at 4:21 a.m. They tied off his umbilical cord, and left the placenta in place, in hopes to trick my body into thinking that there was still a baby in there, and that my cervix would close and labor would stop.

Holding him was the most amazing thing in the world.  He had made me a Mom! I had waited for this day for so many years.  Everything was perfect about him.  His ears, his fingers, his toes, his little eyelashes, everything. We were able to snuggle him and hold him for about an hour and twenty minutes before he returned to live with our Heavenly Father.  It was the most amazing, heart breaking hour and twenty minutes of my life.

Luckily, labor had stopped, and my cervix had pretty much closed back up after about two hours.  I was given heavy doses of antibiotics, and we spent the day celebrating and mourning our little boy.  Our families were both there to support us.  We had an AMAZING bereavement specialist who came and helped us with our sweet boy. It wasn’t a day that we wanted, but given the circumstances, it was an amazing day remembering and honoring our sweet Jaxson boy.

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The day that didn’t go as planned

It was a Thursday morning.  I was 20 weeks and 4 days pregnant with two sweet little boys who had started wiggling and moving to the point that I could feel them.  I woke up feeling excited for the day, as we had our anatomy scan for the babies that day, and then a tour of a new LDS temple in the area that was having an open house.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Alex and I got up and got ready for the day.  Our appointment was at 10:30 in the morning.  We took a bump picture before we left, just to document our journey so far. Then we went on our happy way to the appointment. iphone-216-132

We checked in and waited for them to call us back.  My name was called, we went back, they checked my weight and my blood pressure, and soon we were sitting in MFM ultrasound room 2.

The ultrasound tech came in and we started with the ultrasound. The babies checked out perfectly.  Our baby A had slightly enlarged kidneys, but other then that, they we happy and wiggly.  The ultrasound tech left and we waited to talk to the doctor. She came in and was very nice and informative.  She said our babies looked great.  I explained to her how my doctor asked that we take a close look at the cervix.  She agreed that it would be a good idea, and sent the ultrasound tech back in.

She did a vaginal ultrasound, which is the best way to get a look at the cervix.  After about five minutes, I asked her if what she was looking at was my cervix or not.  She said she was having a hard time visualizing the cervix and wasn’t sure if what she was seeing was actually the cervix or not.  She was going to step out and have the doctor come in and try.  As soon as she left the room, I told Alex something was wrong. I had been working in healthcare for the last eight years and the fact that she wasn’t sure if she could see it or not was the biggest line of crap that I had ever heard.

The doctor came back in and told us that she wasn’t going to be doing anymore ultrasound pictures, because she didn’t want to irritate the cervix anymore than what it was.  My cervix was measuring 4mm (the average is about 3.5cm) and I had funneling (this is where the amniotic sac starts to come through the cervix.)  She gave us very strict instructions to go home on bedrest, to monitor the contractions, and to return to labor and delivery if my water breaks.

We were scared beyond belief.  We were unsure of what the future held for us.  We went home with the adorable ultrasound pictures that we had just received and settled in for hopefully a long time of laying in bed and resting.

 

Alex was great and made sure to take care of me if I needed anything.  As it became Friday, the contractions continued.  I called my doctors office and talked to the nurse, who suggested that I try drinking some more water, but to go in to labor and delivery if they continued.

Early Saturday morning, I woke up at 4:00 to contractions.  I drank some water, rested, and gave it some time.  By 10:00, they were still pretty regular.  I told Alex that I thought it would be the best if we went in to L&D just to be safe.  We grabbed my bag, and we headed into the hospital.

The joy of pregnancy

After we discovered that we were expecting, we had some time off when we went to southern Utah to spend the weekend with Alex’s family.

We were enjoying the warm weather visiting with our family and friends.  One evening, while Alex was at school, my mother in law and I went to Target shopping.  We bought the most adorable little outfit for the little sweet babe that I was growing.

When we got back to their house, I discovered that I had, at some point, started bleeding.  Panic IMMEDIATELY set in! I called Alex in a panic and he started to make his way back to his parents house.  While I waited for him, I called the emergency after hours line for our fertility clinic to see what they would suggest.  No one answered, so I left a message.  Alex had arrived at the house and we talked over what our options were.  We both decided that we should probably go to the emergency room just to be checked out. The fertility nurse called us on our way to the ER and supported our plan, just to make sure everything was okay.

When we got there, we were taken right back. They drew labs, and we waited for our turn to go in for an ultrasound.

The ultrasound tech came and took us back for our ultrasound.  He was so nice and so concerned about why we were in the ER.  He did an abdominal ultrasound  just to make sure that nothing was wrong that way.  He then switched to a vaginal ultrasound (its more in depth and can have a better view of things in the uterus).  We were shocked with what came up on the screen!

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There were TWO little sacs in there! We were so surprised! We knew there was a possibility of twins, but the reality that there were actually two in there was mind blowing! We were beyond excited and thrilled for the adventure that awaited us.

They diagnosed  me with having a subchorionic hematoma. I followed up with our fertility doctor when we returned home.  The babies looked great and the hematoma resolved on its own.

Things were going fantastic.  The babies were growing great, I was suffering from some pretty decent “morning” sickness (it was more like all day sickness), things couldn’t be better.  We announced to our friends and family who didn’t know when I was about 12 weeks along, when I couldn’t exactly hide the belly bump that had soon made its appearance.

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Things were going great, up until the middle of December, when I was about 15 weeks along.  I was home for the day, and Alex didn’t have to be to work until 11:00. I was picking up the house, doing laundry, the usual, when I felt a warm sensation.  I went to the bathroom, and was welcomed by more blood than I had ever known possible to come out of someone at one time.  I yelled for Alex, and as he came into the bathroom, I remember him asking me if I was peeing or if that was blood.  I answered honestly that it was blood, and he just dropped to floor and went completely white.  I yelled at him to get me some new pants that we needed to go to the hospital immediately.  He pulled it together, and helped me get into the car, and I’m pretty sure we made it to the hospital in record breaking time.

The ER was luckily slow when we got there.  They took us back right away, and the doctor was soon in there.  They did a pelvic exam, and of coarse, I bleed profusely the entire time.  My cervix appeared to be closed, so they ordered a stat ultrasound to check on the babies.  It was the longest half hour wait of my life while we waited to go back to ultrasound.

To our utter shock, up on the screen popped two wiggly little babies, moving away happily.  I’ve never felt such a sigh of relief! When we returned to our room in the ER, the doctor and nurse both told us that they had never seen someone bleed so much, and have things turn out fine. They were also very surprised. We were sent home with bed rest instructions and follow up with my regular doctor in a few days.

When we went to the doctor, she cleared me and said things were fine. She couldn’t really give us an answer for the bleeding.  Things were going well, and we were back to being hopeful. Oh, and we found out that we were having two little boys! We were ecstatic! We began preparing for them right away.

As time went on, I was in constant communication with my best friend, who was also pregnant.  I remember asking her one day what braxton hicks contractions felt like.  I had been experiencing a tightening in my belly, but they were really irregular and didn’t last long at all.  Her and I decided that they probably were braxton hicks contractions, but I should bring it up at my next doctors appointment.

My next appointment was my 20 week appointment.  Things went great.  I brought up the contractions to my doctor, and he said they were normal, and were most likely braxton hicks.  Because I was pregnant with twins, they had scheduled to do my anatomy scan with the perinatologist.  My regular doctor suggested that I have them take a close look at my cervix while I was at the appointment, just to be safe. I left on my merry way, awaiting the anatomy scan I would have in three days, excited to see my cute, sweet little babes again.

 

Our first IVF transfer

We transferred our two little embryos (or embabies as I call them) on Friday Sept. 25, 2015.  The fertility clinic that we go to recommends that you have three “princess days” following a transfer.  These princess days basically consist of being a couch potato. So, we came home, and my princess days began.

After they do the transfer, they typically wait for about 10 days before they do a blood pregnancy test to see if the transfer was successful or not. My blood test was scheduled for Tuesday Oct 6.  They call the time period between the transfer and the blood test the two week wait.  Your mind goes crazy during this time.  You over analyze every little twinge and feeling that you have!

On Saturday Oct. 3, Alex had left to go with some of my family to the priesthood session.  I remember getting into the shower while he was gone and feeling fine, when suddenly, I felt like I was going to pass out!  I remember getting out of the shower and laying on the floor, because I didn’t want to hurt myself.  I texted Alex and told him I needed him to come home right away, that something was terribly wrong!

By the time he got home, I was feeling a little better. He forced me to eat a little more and drink some Powerade.  The next morning, I decided to take a home pregnancy test just to see what it said.  I wasn’t expecting anything, but where I had the episode I did the night before, I figured why not!

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The test had come back positive!  I couldn’t believe it! I had NEVER seen two lines before! So, obviously, I had to take a few more just to make sure.  I went in for my blood test, and for the first time in the entire journey, the nurse actually was excited to tell me my results, and they were great! I was actually pregnant!

Both of our families knew that we were in this process, so we soon shared with both of our parents our news! We were so happy and hopeful that things were actually playing out in our favor!

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IVF

After taking about a year off of anything infertility treatment related, Alex began a new job with a new company.  I remember him coming home from work on the very first day, and telling me that their health insurance covered infertility treatments 100%.

This was a game changer.  We talked it over, and decided that this was a blessing that came into our lives and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

We scheduled an appointment with our fertility doctor, and waited anxiously.

Our doctor was very happy to see us and we discussed all of our options.  We were ready for this.  We set up an appointment with his IVF coordinator nurse, and we were on our way! She gave us our calendar for medications, appointments, ultrasounds, lab draws, and everything we would need.

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We were set to start everything at the end of August, first of September.  We decided while we could, we would take a quick weekend getaway, just the two of us, before our lives became engulfed in fertility treatments, and hopefully, a successful happy pregnancy.

When we returned from our getaway, I underwent a water ultrasound to make sure there were no abnormalities in my uterus.  They found some polyps that needed to be removed, so, I prepared to undergo a hysteroscopy to remove them.

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We had to be to the fertility clinic at 5:30 in the morning.  They removed 5 polyps, one of which was blocking one of my Fallopian tubes. After the hysteroscopy, we started injections the next day to start our process for egg retrieval.

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Lucky for me, my body actually did what it was supposed to do and responded very nicely.  I had many follicles (the joys of having PCOS) that were very impressive in size.  Soon, the time came to trigger and go in for egg retrieval.   Egg retrieval fell on my birthday, so I couldn’t ask for any better luck, right?!

They were able to retrieve 21 eggs, of which after 5 days of incubation, we had 7 beautiful embryos.  We decided to transfer 2 embryos, and freeze 5 of them.

The start of our journey down the fertility treatment road

After trying for a few months on our own, and receiving the diagnosis of PCOS, we decided that we would begin the treatments in hopes it would help us get our family started a little sooner.

The ultrasounds and lab tests informed us that I was not ovulating like I should be.  I started on Clomid in hopes that it would help with the ovulation.  After two months of still not ovulating while on Clomid, we switched to Femara hoping that something a little stronger would help.

I was on Femara for about four months. I ovulated two out of the four months, with no success in actually getting pregnant.

Now, when I say we tried oral medications for four months, it wasn’t actually four months. One of the most common characteristics for PCOS is the lack of a period.  So, my months would be wait for my period to start, it wouldn’t start, I would take a medication to induce a cycle, then we would take the Femara again.  All in all, this time frame was really about 6 1/2 months long.

During this time frame,  I had applied and accepted a position at a hospital in northern Utah where I had grown up. So, Alex and I had made to move three hours north to our new home. We were still working with our OB/GYN in southern Utah and communicating with him to have the tests completed in northern Utah. I had a HSG completed in December of 2011.  It showed that everything was normal and open.  My doctor told us that he wasn’t sure what was going on and why we were unable to get pregnant.  He also suggested that we consider seeing a reproductive endocrinologist to continue our efforts in trying to start our family.

We chose a fertility clinic close to where we were living, set up our appointment, and waited for the day to come.  Our initial consultation went well.  Our doctor sat down and talked to us about everything we had gone through, and what our next steps would be to move forward.  We would start with IUI treatments, pray they would work, and go from there if they didn’t.

We started treatments right away and endured heartbreak after heartbreak.  We did three treatments with no success.  We were broken, devastated, and I was a mess of a puddle on the floor.

We had an appointment with our doctor to discuss the next steps.  He told us what we already knew.  We would have to move forward with an IVF.

I couldn’t move forward that easily.  I had to protect my heart, and heal my self mentally. Alex and I decided that we would not move forward immediately, that we would take some time off to heal and prepare.   Our doctor was okay with the plan, and told us to call the office when we were ready to move forward.