Friday, July 29, 2016

65dpo 11w5d - Results are in!

No aneuploids. And it's a girl!!!!!

Every test marker came back as not detected, so the lowest risk. I'm so relieved.

And I am so excited to be having a girl!! It was my slight preference, although obviously I wouldn't have really cared either way. So I guess I can be official now! I've been toying with whether or not I do some sort of announcement. They don't seem as common here in the UK as the States, but a lot of my friends, etc. are far away and really won't otherwise know unless through a very long grapevine. Anyway, I have time to think about it. I wonder if I can finally relax about this pregnancy just a little??

Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

65dpo 11w5d - And still waiting

Okay, okay. Today is really 9 days which was the earliest they said it would come. But it's getting to me more and more.... I had a nightmare about it last night. I really hope the results come by the end of today. Don't know if they work on Saturdays. Assume not Sunday. So if not today possibly next possible day is Monday? Ugh. I'm going to lose my shit if it comes back inconclusive and needing another blood draw.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

64dpo 11w4d - Still waiting

No NIPT results yesterday.  I think they said it was usually around 9 days.  Yesterday was 7. So I'm not surprised. Again it could be today, but again, due to time differences, I wouldn't expect anything until the afternoon/evening.

My midwife said that I need to start baby aspirin from week 12 to help prevent preeclampsia which officially is next Wednesday. So today I am going to try to remember to go to the drug store at lunch and pick some up. Next week I am running another workshop so I will be very busy. I'm not staying with the students though, I will be going home every evening so I can easily take my vitamins, etc.

I really hope I get the NIPT results before my 12 week scan which is next Thursday. I should, although they said it could take up to 2 weeks (but in their experience never had).  Even so, two weeks would be the day before the scan, so hopefully it will come through.

And hopefully it will be all 'no aneuploidy detected'.

Meanwhile, my gut continues to feel 'full'. Sometimes the fullness feels like I've eaten a big mean (when I've eaten nothing). Sometimes the fullness vaguely feels like I need to poop. No wonder pregnant women get hemorrhoids! While trying not to focus on waiting for results, it is fascinating to observe all these shifts in my body. Although it's still incredibly difficult to wrap my head around there being a little creature inside of me!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

63dpo 11w3d - Still waiting

I figure today would be the absolute earliest I would get an email with the NIPT results and it won't be until later in the day because of the time difference to the States.  But really I'm not expecting it today. I'm starting to feel a bit anxious about the results. Because I did not do PGS testing, I have the standard chances of the fetus having chromosomal abnormalities. Because the age of the egg was 38 or 39 as opposed to my current age of 41, there are slightly better odds but they are still not great.

Apparently the risk of Down Syndrom is between 1/175 and 1/137.  The risk of any chromosomal abnormality is between 1/102 and 1/83. Now of course many of those random abnormalities cause
miscarriages or a lack of development.  I know that little squidge is developing at the right pace, so I think my odds are slightly better for the general chromosomal abnormalities, but perhaps not for Down Syndrome.  I'm really not sure. And while I wouldn't be confident of winning a draw with those odds, it's not so large that I feel confident I won't get the short straw.

At any rate, the fact is that the genetic makeup of the squidge is already established and all that is happening now is that I am waiting to find out what it is.  Worrying makes no difference. I'm just impatient.

My body continues to subtly change. Mostly now I feel constantly bloated or 'full'. I can tell that I am fuller above my belly button, towards my lower rib cage, or at least that there is pressure there. It's not obvious to anyone else other than me, and mostly I notice because of the pressure feeling. I think I still have a way to go before I properly show or anything like that.

I managed to start a conversation with the boyfriend last night which although inconclusive was progress. I know that he's really still not come to terms with what this pregnancy means for him, or how he thinks about it. I stressed that how it feels to me is that he is tolerating my pregnancy, and that tolerating it is not really going to fly in the longer term. He insisted that was not how he felt, but then it was also clear that he's still conflicted. I think he worries that he will become attached to my child, but that I could 'disappear' with the child at any time. Of course this could happen in general, and there are no guarantees in life. It's something he needs to mentally come to terms with. But at least we are talking about it, and there is still time.

In completely unrelated news, I still have a wicked bruise on my left arm from the blood drawn at my GP's office almost two weeks ago now. I've started taking some iron supplements because although they did not call me to say that I'm anemic, I cant' think of any other reason why the bruises are fading so slowly.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

57dpo 10w4d - Scan and NIPT

So the scan went well and everything looks normal! It looks like a proper little fetus now with an oddly shaped bulging head and little stumpy legs and arms. They checked the length and it looks like I'm on target for my fertilization due date which is 10w1d or due on February 15th. They also tested the heartbeat which came in at a strong 170 beats per minute. She was able to show me the placenta which is in the front which means I may feel less movement/kicking for a while. I also got to see the yolk sac which isn't completely gone yet. Basically, there was plenty of time to ogle the little being living in my uterus. I couldn't stop grinning. It was very reassuring, and then of course, fucking terrifying!!! But that is as it should be.
Being measured - just the right size
3d view- it looks like a fetus!!
She also managed to take my blood in one go after looking at my vein with the ultrasound machine to make sure she really had a good one.  She was extremely gentle and I barely felt the needle going on. It was slow to fill and eventually stopped giving blood however, luckily just when enough had been collected for the NIPT. They will send my blood off to the States to get tested, so I won't have the results for at least a week. I've opted in for everything to be tested which includes finding out the sex. I'm still nervous that this final hurdle will prove the one where things go wrong, but I'm feeling much better at the moment. I am really fucking pregnant. It's not just a fluke. Holy shit.

On the taxi ride to and from the clinic I was playing Pokemon Go (yes, I know). It was a novelty to be in a car and be able to grab and collect things. On the other hand, it made me really nauseous.  I'm still nauseous now, which seems odd. I wonder if it triggered some of the underlying morning sickness I've otherwise been avoiding.  Hopefully it will pass soon and go back to how it was.

So other than waiting for the NIPT results, my next scan is the official dating and Nuchal Fold scan the first week of August. Hopefully I get the NIPT results before that scan, because they are are more accurate than the Nuchal Fold screening and it would be useful to go into that scan with the test results. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

56dpo 10w3d - 25%

According to my retrieval/fertilization date, I am exactly 10 weeks today (despite my LMP tracking date). If a pregnancy is around 40 weeks, that means I'm a quarter done already. I know that pregnancy counts in trimesters, but 40 doesn't divide well into 3. And anyway, at this stage, counting days and weeks is more the thing. So 25% it is.

Tomorrow I have arranged an NIPT and a scan. I'm nervous about the scan- that it will show that things have gone wrong. I will be very relieved if it doesn't, but I'm nervous now just the same. Today is also the first day that I'm completely off the progesterone/Cyclogest. There was nothing notable about reducing the progesterone, so it should be fine to go off completely now. Yet another removal of something that made me feel pregnant though!

I will of course report back on tomorrow's scan. Whatever will be is already determined. So it's just for me to find out what it is. I suppose the irony will be if the scan is normal but the NIPT is not. But of course I won't have those results for another week again. So, potentially straight from one waiting period to the next.

Monday, July 18, 2016

54dpo 10w1d - Worrying

It's very easy for me to generally forget that I'm pregnant. I don't have any major symptoms other than tiredness. My breasts seem to have settled a bit after growing some and being sensitive. I still get very fleeting moments of feeling 'off' but nothing as much as nausea or throwing up.

Yesterday I convinced myself that maybe I wasn't pregnant anymore or had miscarried (or had a 'missed miscarriage since I haven't had any cramps or bleeding at all). So I peed on a stick which reassuringly came up straight away pregnant. But then I wondered if it was lighter than the last time I did the test. I think this is somewhat brought on my by wanting to schedule my NIPT this Friday. I can't quite find the one I want without a scan, so I get a scan thrown in (or rather, I pay for it). So I started to wonder and worry about what the scan might show.

This all ended up meaning that in general I felt grumpy yesterday. I may have been snappy with the boyfriend, which also continues to bother me because we've still not talked about the baby situation. I'm still annoyed that I need to bring it up and that he doesn't talk to me. I will, at some point, but maybe not when I'm feeling grumpy about it.

Actually, maybe I just feel irritable in general. It's hard to think of things that are making me happy right now. Work is stressful. People annoy me. Not all people, but a lot of them. I'm sure that the stress at work is not helping, and the stress of worrying and trying not to worry is not helping. I keep expecting the bad news to hit, and that's just not a useful mindset.

The only moderately positive thing on the pregnancy front is that I reduced my progesterone/Cyclogest to one a day and I only have one more day before it's gone. I was a bit worried about reducing to one a day, especially when so many women online seem to report staying on until week 12 and here I was reducing at week 9 to stop at week 10. But so far, no difference in my body or discharge or anything, so I assume it's all fine? Yay to fewer fingers in bums!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

48 dpo 9w2d - First midwife appointment

I've had my first midwife appointment which was fine.  It took some time, as there seemed to be a lot of information to enter into the system.  I would say the meeting was mostly procedural.  There wasn't necessarily any new information from this meeting. She went over with me what vitamins I should be taking, what I should and shouldn't be eating, that I should be exercising but not adding new hardcore routines. I brought along a printout of the donor profile so I could answer any questions about 'the other side' which was useful. We touched briefly on where I might want to give birth, and who might be in the room with me. I don't know yet enough about my pregnancy to make any decisions about where to give birth, although I know I really don't want to do it at home. I think I will be too high risk for that anyway, but it otherwise it really doesn't interest me. The birth center is literally attached to the delivery hospital (same building) so you can always start off in the birth center and be quickly transferred if needed, which seems reasonable. But I'll find out more about how it works later in the pregnancy. We also discussed my relationship with the boyfriend and she agreed that a doula is probably a good idea for me, even if the boyfriend decides he wants to be involved. So that was good to talk about albeit briefly.

Part of the meeting was clearly to assess risk factors.  Because of my age (almost 42) and my weight (BMI 34.5) and my history of an abdominal surgery (ovary removal) this puts me at various risks for various things. So one of the things she set me up with was a meeting with an obstetrician.  I guess in the UK you don't meet with an obstetrician regularly unless you are high risk. So I'll go to be assessed and either they'll continue to want to see me or they'll release me back to my midwife team/GP. I may also have an extra scan due to my age. I'm also at a higher risk for pre-eclampsia so I'll need to start taking a daily baby aspirin at 12 weeks.

But basically that was all fine.  The next steps are that I scheduled a blood test for Thursday and I need to also provide a urine sample (in the smallest urine pot known to man I might add). I am now expecting 3 letters: a welcome from the midwife detailing our discussion and baby aspirin stuff; an appointment letter for my 12 week scan at the hospital which includes a permission form for the Nuchal screening; and, an appointment letter for a meeting with the obstetrician.  I've also confirmed that they don't do NIPT yet, so I'm going to schedule that next week. The midwife told me about another Cambridge based private clinic that offers it, but it's cheaper at the one I found already, so I think I'll stick to that. I think I'll also go for the Serenity Plus test over the Harmony. I don't think it makes very much difference at all, except I think I'll get the Serenity results quicker.

Oh, and I also asked about the Cyclogest/progesterone because I'm down to just a few days left. The midwife said I needed to call the IVF clinic to ask how long I should be on it, so I called them when I got back and had a very nice chat with one of the nurses who was there throughout my procedures. She said they normally would end around 7 weeks, and they're happy for it to stop at 9 weeks. She said it's up to me if I stop cold turkey or reduce then taper but it shouldn't make any difference at this point. So I think I will do a full dose tomorrow which is officially 9 weeks if you follow the retrieval/fertilization date. Then I will drop to one a day until I run out and I might every other day the last one or two. So that's one bit of good news that I don't have to be sticking things up my bottom twice a day very soon!

In other news, another woman on the forum in my group has miscarried which is just awful. I was hoping that we would not be the standard statistic as a group and yet we have reached it. And there could still yet be more. It's so heartbreaking. I try to stick to my mantra but am well aware there are still some big hurdles to get past. The NIPT and the 12 week scan being the big ones. I know that there is nothing I can do. What is going to happen is going to happen. The not knowing can be just so hard though.

Monday, July 11, 2016

47dpo 9w1d - Reflections

First a quick update.  I finally heard from my friend after 4 weeks of nothing.  I was very relieved to hear from her, and she apologized, which was good.  I think we're okay now.  It was an unpleasant blip but at least it's sorted.

First midwife appointment is tomorrow, so I'm sure I'll have something to record about how that goes. I'm very interested in finding out about the NIPT availability.  And also anything else having to do with my new status!

I read a couple of news pieces recently about single mothers; one is here and the other is here.

Obviously there are many, many other articles about single motherhood, these are just the two I read over the weekend.  What I found particularly interesting, and shocking were some of the comments on both pieces.  While I have immersed myself in the decision to become a single mother, I am continually surprised that other people would voice such ignorant and insulting responses to the concept. My favorite ignorant ranting is about the 'unnatural' method through which a single woman becomes a mother.  I mean, of course, for starters, many women use a known donor and techniques that are pretty much 'natural'.  But more insultingly, I wonder if these commentators are aware of how many married couples also must turn to reproductive technologies to have a child, which may include the use of a donor (either egg or sperm).  I'm sure they wouldn't be quite so quick to gnash their teeth if it was a married couple pursing IVF, but as soon as it's a single woman, all bets are off the table. This goes hand in hand with the ever popular 'why don't you just adopt?' line of commentary which again one must wonder if this comment is said to every married couple they know.  I mean if there are so many children so desperate for homes out there (and so easy to adopt?!) then surely the best place for them in  your misguided view of the world would be in a home with a mother and father. So really, no couple should reproduce if they could adopt, or are you being hypocritical.....

Then there are the comments about these women 'sponging off the state and tax dollars' which I find entertaining because it doesn't say anywhere that the single mothers are needing social welfare.  But so what if they were?  Do only married couples qualify for social welfare? If you are married and have a child, but you can't afford it, it's okay for you to have social welfare but not a single mother? Certainly in my case I am preparing financially and have been preparing financially for the burden of having a child, and it's not something I've undertaken lightly.  Which is of course very different to the people on TV on '16 and pregnant' and other such people who get pregnant with no clear means to support a child.  But if I end up in trouble and I need social benefit, should I not be deserving of it because I chose to have a child?  Troubling.

And finally the often trod out statistics about the harm to a child from a single parent household.  Of course no one wishes to harm their child, and you could turn to Philip Larkin for advice here.  But many of those statistics have to do with situations which are very different from a choice mother's situation.  I've also seen more nuanced statistics that suggest that the issues have far more to do with poverty level and age of parent than 'single parenthood' as a block grouping.  But again, so what? Are children not harmed by coupled families? Of course they are.  Your odds may be somewhat statistically higher, but there is risk to everything in life. Parents do the best they can with what they have, hopefully.  But all people can run into trouble and things can go wrong, so either no one should have children, or get off your high horse.

Other comments of irritation were people insisting that a sperm donor is a father which I suppose is a matter of semantics and pedantry and if you wanted to I suppose you could comfortably say that a donor is a biological father in the same way that a birth mother is not considered the 'mother' of a child.  To parent a child and to give your genetic material to the making of a child are I think, everyone an agree, two very different things. I believe it is good to provide distinctions for children and set their expectations. So when I tell my future child they have a donor and not a daddy, it will be clear on what I see the difference is between a genetic scientific fact and a parent who cares for you and loves you. If I did anything otherwise it would set a false expectation. Of course a child has a genetic father, but if you can't see how throwing words around like that is confusing to a child, then you are probably the problem actually.

At any rate, I'm happy that I am generally supported and not assaulted by my network of friends and family. Although I equally am aware that some may hold contrary opinions that they express outside of my hearing. I'm okay with that. I'm sure certain friends of mine have doubts or concerns, they may think I'm not up to it, that it's going to be too hard, that I'm crazy for taking this on, etc. But my friends support me to my face, and if they have them, express their concerns elsewhere. If I do have such friends, then hopefully I will prove them wrong, and hopefully they also hope I will prove them wrong.

Life isn't easy, full stop. But it is what you make of it. So make it the best you can for yourself and those within it. What else can you do?

Friday, July 8, 2016

44dpo 8w5d - So Tired

Aside from slightly fuller, firmer breasts, the one symptom that I am experiencing relatively strongly is exhaustion.  I wake up and I'm practically tired again straight away.  It hasn't helped I'm sure that this has been an incredibly full week.  I ran a workshop from Sunday night to Thursday late afternoon which started at 7:30/8:00am every day and went through dinner.  Today, no rest for the weary, I had to get up early and cycle across town to do some lecturing.  All stuff I love and enjoy, but man am I beat.

A friend of mine who reads this blog (but doesn't comment!! :P ;) ) texted me to suggest that my iron could be low.  So when I have my midwife appointment next week, I will ask about this, and maybe they will test it.  It would be good if there was a way I could help this particular symptom, but then another friend who I had lunch with today suggested that tiredness in pregnancy is just something you have to deal with and it doesn't particularly go away.

I guess I'll find out!  I've also read that progesterone can make you feel more tired as well.  I have about a week left of Cyclogest, so another thing I'll be bringing up to the midwife next week.  I'm really not confident at all about when I should be stopping the progesterone and how I should be stopping it.  As I'm on two a day, should I start by reducing to one a day?  And do I have enough to that, and if I did want to do that, when should I start?  I have enough to get through to Tuesday without sacrificing any one choice, so hopefully I'll get more insight from the midwife.

In other news, because I was at a workshop most of the week, where food is included, I felt that I ate like a pig and that I'd gained at least 5 pounds.  In particular I thought this was true because my gut felt 'tight'.  But when I weighed myself this morning at home, I only gained a pound and a half from all the cookies.  So maybe the tightness is just the little squidge growing from a blueberry to a raspberry size?  In general, as I am overweight, I'd like to be fairly careful with weight gain during pregnancy.  I'm not supposed to gain all that much, given my starting weight/BMI, so I'd like to try to keep on top of that.

Monday, July 4, 2016

40dpo 8w1d - Pregnancy buddy

I was completely surprised and very excited to hear that one of my oldest friends from high school is also pregnant, and her due date is pretty much the same as mine!  It is her second child, so there are obvious differences, but it's just kind of cool.  Unfortunately she lives in California, so an 8 hour time difference and not much chance of meeting up to commiserate, but we WhatsApp, so anyway, that's kind of cool news.

I continue to be tired more than usual, and occasionally I feel 'off', although not full on nauseous.  It's sort of impossible not to continue to worry that something is going to go horribly wrong.  My first midwife appointment is in a week and a day which I'm sort of looking forward to.  I did email the place that does the NIPT and they haven't emailed me back which is annoying.

I had an uncomfortable experience over the weekend at a wedding.  I went with the boyfriend and we met some new people.  One of whom clocked that I wasn't drinking and asked if I was pregnant.  Not quick enough to cover I indicated I was at which point this person gushed congratulations at the both of us.  What a disaster.  I tried to sideline the conversation and then asked the boyfriend if he was okay and he clearly wasn't.  I managed to get the gushing new person to take me to the toilet as she'd already been where I gave her the breakdown.  It was just really unfortunate how it all happened, and I do empathize with the boyfriend.  However, I also feel that awkwardness is compounded by his own lack of acceptance.  In fairness, he was as taken aback as I was by the onslaught, and neither of us was prepared with what to say.  On the other hand, if he was fine with the situation, he could have quickly said something about 'Oh, it's not mine.'.  At any rate, it was messy and I felt a bit bad, although it was reasonably quickly addressed.  Of course we haven't spoken about it, because he doesn't.  Which is particularly not helpful.

In other news, it's still just very easy to forget that I'm pregnant.  I kind of wonder when that stops!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

37dpo 7w5d - No Clever Title

Two days post scan and it's still just all a bit surreal.  What things can I say have changed?  My breasts are definitely a bit heavier and more sensitive; and possibly slightly larger.  Last night it was hard to get comfortable in bed, especially if I rolled on to my stomach.  In fact in general my sleep has been more disrupted.  I pee more.  I definitely feel more tired, especially in the evenings.  But otherwise that's it!  My colleague at work who has recently left for maternity leave said her first trimester symptoms really didn't start until week 8.  It's not that I want symptoms, but it's easy to forget that I'm pregnant!  Or at least, not fully believe that I'm pregnant.  Despite the visual evidence.

I've been looking into scheduling a NIPT locally.  I found a local clinic that offers both the Harmony and Serenity tests.  It's very difficult to get information on which test is better or why.  There are a number of other tests available, but these are the two I can do here, so that's better than a trip down to London.  Earlier this year, and following a massive research trial, the NHS decided NIPTs were a good idea to offer to pregnant women.  Unfortunately it's just still not clear that it's been rolled out or that I can get one this way.  I will see my midwife before 10 weeks, which is the earliest I could do a NIPT, so I will make absolutely sure I can't get it for free before paying for it. But I will pay for it, if I have to.  I feel reasonably confident that I would not continue a pregnancy with a known birth defect or serious chromosomal issue.  I realize this is a contentious issue, and it's one I hope I do not have to face. I am thankful however, that such tests exist.

In other news I continue to mull over my network/village and how various members have taken my news.  On the whole, my network is incredibly supportive and wonderful.  I feel very much accepted and supported by those around me (and around me in spirit but living far away!), and that's a wonderful thing.  But there are a couple of close nodes in the network which are not as stable.  The boyfriend and I have yet to talk about the pregnancy in any sort of detail.  In that, he does not ask me any questions. I tell him everything that is happening, and I make comments about the pregnancy, but he doesn't initiate conversations.  Of course I take this as his lack of comfort with the idea, which has been an issue throughout the process.  This may not be correct, and it could be that he feels rejected and so doesn't know what to ask or say as without my inviting him to participate more, he may feel I don't want him to participate more.  At any rate, this is something he and I will have to talk about sooner over later.  The other issue is my 'best friend' who has stopped talking to me since my positive result.  She has been suffering her own fertility issues, and is seriously depressed.  And while I understand to some extent that she finds my news too difficult to deal with, she is also married, wealthy, and already has 2 beautiful children from her horrible multi-year struggles with fertility treatments.  So it's also hard for me to be completely understanding, as to me, she has many things that I would have liked to have had, and is lucky in many ways, despite her struggles.  We live in different countries which makes the distance a bit easier to navigate, but also to perpetuate.  I wonder if I will hear from her again though, and I note with sadness that the longer the time for her to get back in touch, the more hurt, not less, I manage to feel about it.

In other unrelated news, I know pregnancy is counted in trimesters, but it's strange to think that as soon as I am 10 weeks, which is really not far away all things considered, I am 25% through my pregnancy.  That's insane! I know that as I've gotten older, time goes by faster and faster.  But it's crazy to think I can be almost 25% through something that I don't even barely feel yet and that very soon in the grand scheme of things, I will hopefully be a mother!! I know there is a long way (in some ways) to go between now and then, but in other ways, it's really no time at all.