Saturday, February 26, 2011


So... I'm pregnant! And as I mentioned, one of the "pros" of working with a fertility clinic is that you get more ultrasounds that the average pregs lady. That included one while I was only about 5.5 weeks pregnant (while often doctors won't even take a 1st appointment until 8-9 weeks).

That ultrasound confirmed why my beta (blood) tests were so high! Two babies! But as we learned by the 2nd ultrasound, one of the challenges of early tests are that they show non-viable babies that end up being consumed by the other. The internet calls it "vanishing twin". For MCB and MAC, I'll call it "tooth, hair, bone" babies. The only way I could think to explain it is "one baby ate the other baby".

SO. With that said.... Week 7 ultrasound (early-January), one healthy baby with a really strong heartbeat, and I was released from Sh@dy Grove to my regular OBGYN.

And still in disbelief that this actually freaking worked. Even now, at 14.5 weeks pregnant, I don't feel pregnant. I (knock on wood), haven't had any morning sickness. The closest thing I had to sickness was at a client dinner in Columbia in mid-January. I just had to excuse myself for 45 minutes or so for a walk outside in the rain.

The one and only symptom I have had is major, unabiding HUNGER. I can't explain it. I literally had to have something to eat every 90 minutes or I would start to freak out. Didn't have to eat much, but HAD TO EAT. This led to a huge bag of healthy snacks being taken to work and box of crackers next to my bed. Luckily that has subsided some now that I'm in the 2nd trimester.

For those who have asked about cravings: burgers burgers burgers. Cheeseburgers, turkey burgers, veggie burgers... you name it, I wanted it. And sushi (which I can't really have).

Only food aversion for a few weeks there was any meat I cooked myself. Shawn had tons of leftovers, and I settled in with my Boca Burgers quite a few nights.

It all isn't quite real yet, even after seeing the baby 4 more times in ultrasounds. I can't believe how lucky we are to have had success this early when so many folks have tried for much longer and spent much more money. Even a reconn trip to Buy Buy B@by didn't do it last weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It Works!

*Last "medical" update for the male, squeamish, and male squeamish.*

So, let me tell you, that 15 days seems like an eternity. Particularly when you are still on hormone medications that like to mimic pregnancy symptoms. So I spent the "two week wait" as it is called googling every possible symptom or non-symptom I was feeling. And ducking questions about why I wasn't having a cocktail with my friends.

It was at that point I decided, why make this a secret? We are in a city of late-childbearing women, and telling people you are going through fertility treatments is preferable to them seeing you turn down a cocktail and assume you are pregnant.

As I've said, it has been a blessing to see we are no where near alone in this journey. Young friends, old friends, healthy friends and not as healthy friends.... there had to be at least 10 families I came across who said "us too". And those people have been a constant source of encouragement and oversharing through this process.

So... the week of my blood test, which is on a Thursday, I get what I think is pretty strong proof I'm not pregnant. (You can use your imagination for that one). I told Shawn, had a little cry, a few martinis, and decided on the next plan of action. I was pretty emotionally prepared to have to go through more than one IUI before having success.

So what does a DC person do? I went on a business trip! And had TONS of sushi and some cocktails with my client, and thought, "onward and upward". The only part of the week that was touch and go was when my client activity of the week was touring the nursery and maternity wings of two hospitals. That hurt my heart a little.

Lo and behold, I go in for the mandatory test at 7:15am on Thursday morning (December 16th), make a joke about how this is a formality and I'm ready to move on, and head into work. The clinic's protocol is that they call you with blood tests results between 1:00-4:00pm that same afternoon, and when the nurse called, I let it go to voicemail, knowing what the message would be.

Um. Actually, I didn't. That darn blood test was positive, and I made a "Holy Sh&T" phone call to Shawn, who dropped his cell phone when I told him.

Um, yea.


The protocol is for two more bloodtests in the next five days to ensure that the pregnancy isn't a chemical or an ectopic. Not those either... and we were set up for an ultrasound on December 28th... another family holiday cut short. Hopefully they understand now!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

By the Numbers

Nothing says obsessive-compulsive-trying-to-have-babies lady like a spreadsheet! I kept one of my ultrasound monitoring during the IUI process... and inserted it below. For a little 101: in order for a follicle to have an egg in it, the number should be above at least 17 by the day of the IUI. As you can see, we had the possibility of 2-3 eggs releasing for the IUI.

The chance of multiples for an IUI is higher than a natural pregnancy, but no where near as high as that of an IVF. At our clinic, which has really good numbers for IUIs, the chance of getting pregnant on an IUI with injectible hormones is 13-14%. Of those pregnancies, the chance of multiplies is anywhere between 8-20%. IVF at our clinic has a twins rate of almost 30%. Fun, but also prone to many more complications.

So the last numbers were ours going into the IUI, which happened on December 1st.

Our clinic schedules you for a blood test 15 days after the IUI, during which time you need to treat your body if it is pregnant... No sushi, no luncheon meat, no cocktails, etc. And oh yes, you still get to take hormones twice a day until either a negative blood test or 10 weeks pregnant.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thanksgiving-- Modified

*Another "medical" post for those who prefer to skip*

After our lunch and marathon phone-banking all the pharmacies in the Peedee region, Shawn and I got back on the road to DC, arriving at about 9pm. We ran into all that Thanksgiving traffic we had left early on Wednesday to avoid!

Thank goodness the grocery store was open on Thursday morning. We were invited to a crabcake benedict brunch with our awesome friend Angela, and I was able to pick up enough supplies to put together some semblance of a Thanksgiving dinner for Shawn and I.

We woke up on Friday morning and went to a monitoring appointment WAY outside the Beltway, where I found out that the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day in our fertility clinic's practice. It was like a clown car... people were sitting on the floor, the hallways. Another snapshot that there are LOTS of people in this boat with us. That appointment came with the news that I STILL needed more shots. Ditto on the appointment on Sunday morning.

So Shawn got on the road for his annual men-hunt-and-shoot-but-usually-just-do-manly-things weekend, to return early Monday morning for the IUI. Monday again? Still not ready. More shots and the instructions to come back the next day for monitoring with the IUI scheduled for Thursday. Shawn had a business trip Tuesday-Wednesday, so we got him on the plane.

At my appointment Tuesday morning, I found out it was go time. Which meant Shawn had to get on a plane ASAP, or we would have to have that cycle cancelled. Thanks to an understanding client, and a colleague who covered the conference for him, Shawn came back late on Tuesday night so we could have the IUI on Wednesday morning. And I am lucky enough to have a boss that understood that I needed a day off with literally no notice.

Have you noticed the themes here? My body likes as many shots as possible-- and the Edwards don't like to do things the easy way!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sh@dy Grove

(TMI medicine information)

Well, as I said, I'm trying to be open about the fact that we needed some help from modern medicine to make this Palmetto Baby a reality. We knew time wasn't necessarily on our side to start a family. While in DC years, we are right on target for having kids, in "real" years, the fact is that the older you get, the lower your odds are for having a healthy pregnancy.

After 30 months of trying the "normal" way, we followed the lead of some friends of ours who just had twin boys and made an appointment at Sh@dy Grove* ... one of the best fertility clinics in the region (and the country). After about 3 months of testing, including many vials of blood, a HSG (don't ask), and some general monitoring, we were put in the unenviable class of "unexplained fertility".

Well, as someone who likes answers, that wasn't a good one! Our fantastic doctor recommended that we proceed with three IUIs with injectible hormones and Clomid before proceeding to the much more costly and invasive IVF.

Clomid was the 1st step, and its a really intense hormone that gave me the WORST hot flashes. I felt like a hot mess menopausing lady. My face turned bright pink anytime I spoke up in a Hill meeting or office meeting. Talk about embarrassing! After a week of the Clomid, you move on to FSH shots until your follicles are ready to pop. All this while going to the doctor every other morning at 7:15 for ultrasounds to check on the progress of your "follies"

Long story short, when you are proceeding with fertility treatments, you don't get to choose the timing, your body chooses it for you. I was scheduled for my 1st IUI the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, but because my body didn't respond as well as they had hoped, it was pushed to the Friday after Thanksgiving, so after my Wednesday morning appointment, we got on the road for a quick trip to Marion.

About halfway through North Carolina, we got a call from the clinic that I would need to take an additional shot of follitism that evening. Follitism is a really expensive, and apparently really hard to find fertility medicine.

We decided to drive on to South Carolina, and figured between the drug stores and Wally World, we'd be able to find someone with the shot in stock. After tapping Edwards family members that were pharmacists, and a fantastic family friend on the Board of the hospital in Florence, we discovered there wasn't a follitism shot to be found anywhere between Columbia and Myrtle Beach. And the fun with fertility shots? They HAVE to be taken at the same time every day.

So after a quick lunch in Marion, and two hours of searching for the medicine, we got back on the road to DC. Not the Thanksgiving we were hoping for, but well worth it in the end ...(To be continued)

*Name is spelled like that to avoid random googlers dropping in*