Sunday, January 11, 2015

Playing Dumb, Scoring an Ultrasound, and Finding out How Many Babies Were in There

Friday September 5th, 2014: 6 weeks, 5 days
One of my best friends is a nurse, who worked in an OBGYN doctor's office and she shall remain nameless in case she could ever get busted for this ;)

Anyway, she shared a trick with me after I was pregnant with Nolan and Judah.  She said that if/when I ever get pregnant again, to play dumb with my OBGYN doctor's office and pretend NOT to know when my last period was.  She said they would give me an ultrasound to see how big the baby is to help determine a due date. 

You all know from my subsequent pregnancies that ultrasounds are truly the ONLY thing to give 'my crazy' a rest.  I was lucky enough and crazy enough to get a whopping 17 ultrasounds while pregnant with Nolan and Judah.  I even kept an appointment with my OBGYN that I didn't need because I was going down to Ann Arbor to have an ultrasound that very same week.  Seriously, I'm obsessed.... like real obsessed. 

I am also wise enough to know that because this baby was conceived without assisted reproductive technology, I would not be treated any differently this time around.  I would be considered a "normal" pregnancy.  This realization was amazing of course, but with it comes many, many less ultrasounds.  This truth freaked me out... like a LOT.

You can bet that if playing dumb could score me an ultrasound I otherwise wouldn't have had, you know I was going to use it.

After my beta HCG numbers were coming back well, the doctor's office called to ask me a few questions before scheduling any kind of appointment.  One was, "when was your last period?"  I went on this story about how I have irregular periods (which was completely true) and that I'm a fertility patient who always has had to keep track of everything and time everything while on medicine and I decided to use the summer NOT to act that way (partially true... I can say I'm trying to be laid back all I want, but let's be real... no one in their right mind would ever call ME laid back... about ANYTHING) and then I ended with saying that because of these things, I wasn't sure when my last period was, but knew I had a period sometime in July (complete lie... my last period was July 17th).  Needless to say, this worked and for the regular intake appointment where they give people the whole speech about not drinking or smoking and things to eat and things not to eat, I had scored myself an ultrasound on Friday September 5th!  YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES!  #nailedit

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There are a few things that happen at my OBGYN's office that I will NEVER understand.  One is why they insist on taking my blood pressure first before doing anything that has to do with giving me reassurance that my baby (or babies) is okay.  Do you REALLY think that's a fair reading of my blood pressure?!  Come on.  Although thankfully my blood pressure is on the low side of normal so they are never concerned, but still! 

The second thing I will never understand is why they don't always, when being given an ultrasound, do the heart rate FIRST.  Don't fish around in there doing other things!  Doesn't every mom want to know IMMEDIATELY if their baby's heart is beating?!?!  I know I'm more nuts than others, but SERIOUSLY! 

As usual, both these things happened before I got ANY reassurance whether or not this pregnancy was okay so far. 

Low and behold though, after more fishing around at my ovaries and uterus and such, I saw ONE gray circular blob and heard ONE beautiful perfectly beating heart (156).  For now, in this moment, at almost 7 weeks pregnant, things were okay. 

Funny though, I may be one of the only people on earth who made a slight disappointed face when I found out I wasn't having twins again.  This is 'my crazy' in full effect. 

You see, I KNOW how to be pregnant with twins: I know how to eat, I know how much weight to gain, I know how many more ultrasounds that would get me, I know how to breastfeed twins, diaper twins, get twins on the same schedule.  I won't toot my horn too much, but I think I do twins pretty well.  I would consider myself a pretty good expert when it comes to twins.  I feel comfortable in that realm. 

One baby, one baby conceived on my own, well this is brand new territory for me!

As I'm writing this I'm laughing to myself because I sound... well... crazy. 

Please don't misunderstand my slight disappointment to mean I wasn't over the moon excited and grateful that this appointment was a success because I was.  Tears of joy and appreciation certainly did flow.  This was just going to have some new components for me; some new things I was going to have to accept (like that I wouldn't be getting another ultrasound until I was 20 weeks), some new things I was going to need to learn about, and the new realization that we would be, God willing, receiving another miracle into our wonderful little family. 

Baby number 3, here we go!  :)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Could There be Twins... AGAIN?!?!

Mid August 2014: Newly Pregnant

What I'm about to say isn't new news: My past history of miscarriage and infertility makes me an absolute crazy pregnant women.  Even though I learned with Nolan and Judah that I am crazy the ENTIRE pregnancy, I am the worst basket-case during the 1st trimester.  This is explainable by the fact that our miscarriages occurred during this time, the 1st trimester, statistically, has higher risk of miscarriage than the other two trimesters, and the fact that you are rarely seen by a doctor and you have no reassurance of feeling kicks from the baby or a growing belly.  My worrying cripples me and there isn't much that can help me during this time.  The information that helps me get by, just a little, is receiving my beta HCG levels.  Let me explain...

Upon first finding out, with a blood test, that I really was pregnant, my doctor's office has you get your beta HCG numbers checked.  In case you didn't know, HCG is the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, which is produced during pregnancy.  It is made by cells that end up forming the placenta.  In general, these levels should double ever 48-72 hours.  For "normal" patients, I think, they have you check your levels once, go in at least 48 hours later, and get them checked again. If they doubleish, you are done checking and they have you set up an appointment at 12 weeks (that is INSANE to me by the way). 

These beta HCG levels are basically as addicting to me as ultrasounds, I will fight to have them checked as many times as they'll let me.  They are all that gets me through those earliest weeks; the only reassurance I could ever have that things are okay. 

Once getting your blood drawn at a Sparrow lab, you may wait for your doctor's office to call you, usually in the next business day, wait until the results show up on a my MySparrow account online, or, you can call the operator (open 24/7) and give them your special patient ID number and they will read you results once they are in.

You don't have to be a genius to figure out what I do... repeatedly and incessantly call the operator until the results are in.  Do you really think I'm going to wait until the next day or later for my doctor's office to call me?! Please.   

In the seconds before the operator, a complete and total stranger, who doesn't realize that he/she is giving me reassurance or a crushing, devastating blow, reads my levels to me, my heart stops, my breathing stops, everything stops. 

Beta HCG levels can also be an early detector of multiples.  Since you have more than one baby in there, those cells that make up your placenta are working overtime as well.  So, HCG levels in multiples may triple or more instead of doubling.

Suffice it to say, as I was getting my early numbers in, they were looking eerily similar to when I was pregnant with the boys.  In fact, one of my readings almost quadrupled. 

Could this pregnancy be twins?! Natural twins?!  WHAT?!