Tag Archives: Pregnancy

New Blog

30 Oct

I’m working on separating my girly-girl product lover life and my boring, baby-making, giant belly life, and this is the result:

Holy Crap, I’m Making a Person.

Feel free to follow me there for baby news and views and hopefully bizarre stories about what I am hoping will be one weird kid.

xo

Winners, Backlog, & Other Jazz

8 Oct

WOW I am way behind. I have so many reviews to share and just no time lately to do it! Baby is coming in 10 weeks (!) now, so the heat is really on. I’m going to try to cover some ground this week – thanks for bearing with me!

First up, the BUXOM contest closed, but the winner never replied to my emailed request for a mailing address. I gave her a week, but have now announced a new winner – Erina B! Erina, I sent you an email – please reply with your mailing address within the next week, and I’ll get your set out to you. Otherwise, I will draw a new winner next Monday and keep going until I can get a response.

Second, I’ll be posting another blog with a NEW contest (only a week late) – this month the winner will receive a Tarte Statement Lips 5-piece LipSurgence Collector’s Set! I LOOOVE the Tarte Lip Crayons and I think you will too. Another of Kate’s favorite things! Sorry I can’t give you a car like Oprah, but it’s a close second, right?

Finally, reviews. Hoo boy, I have some reviews! Before bed lip gloss, bath bombs, a certain subscription sale site that begins with a Z, and pregnancy in general. Is there something you’d specifically like me to test and review? Please let me know! You can comment, Tweet, or email me with ideas. I know I owe Shari a liquid eyeliner review, and I will work on that tout suite.

Okay, next up – contest blog! Thanks again for your patience, lovelies!

Procrastination…

19 Jul

 

“Procrastination” sounds much sexier if you sing it to the tune of “Infatuation” by Rod Stewart. Just saying.

Sorry I have been MIA. Lots going on – pregnancy, bachelorette party for my sister that almost all of the like ten girls said they were coming to subsequently bailed out on/didn’t show up for, dog, life, etc. I haven’t even really been shopping for product! So you know I have been crazy.

Whatever, this stage couldn’t have handled any more sexy, anyhow.

So a very brief update – we got the MaterniT21 test results and they show to a 99% accuracy that there are NO genetic abnormalities with the baby (who is currently known as Fruit Bat). HOORAH! It’s been a long road and we still have a long way to go (it was 20 weeks Saturday) but every bit of good news helps. Thank you again for all your well wishes and kind thoughts and words! It helped immensely.

I am going to try my damnedest to get a few reviews out in the next couple days. Like, three. At least.

Hope you are all well and staying beautiful!

xoxo

 

Genetic Testing Update

27 Jun

Okay, so, today we had another appointment. As you have probably already read if you have been following this saga as it develops, we got the quad screen blood test results back and they showed we had a 1:12 risk for having a baby with Down’s. I cried a lot because it’s a lot to process. I went back and forth regarding what we’ll do, how we’ll deal, etc. I am a TOTAL hope for the best but prepare for the worst personality. Between all the thinking and research, the support of my wonderful husband, and the incredible outpouring of love from my friends, family, and even acquaintances, I had come to a place where I was just kind of like, whatever the news, we’ll deal. I love children and I have worked with disabled adults and kids, and there are way worse things your baby can be born with than Down’s. It’s not optimal, it’s not what you hope for, but it’s certainly surmountable.

So we went in for the genetic counseling and they pretty much signed us in and sent us directly upstairs for an ultrasound. The ultrasound took FOREVER because they look for all these different markers that can indicate a problem (Down’s or otherwise), and Baby Jig was not cooperating. The one thing he DID cooperate with was gender – we now know we are having a little man. 🙂 Anyhow, he was on his head, chin tucked in, arms behind his head – really doing a little gymnast routine. He waited till the VERY end to finally give the tech a nice profile shot, which I will scan and post here, but currently my husband I think has all the pics in his jacket and he’s gone to work. The end result of the ultrasound was a 100% healthy-looking baby with NO markers for Down’s or any other defects. My placenta is currently blocking my cervix (praevia) but the tech and the doctor both said that this early, that is not a problem and they expect it will move as my uterus stretches (I am still barely showing). Even if it doesn’t, all this means is a C-section, which again, is not optimal BUT is certainly far from the worst thing that can happen!

So after all this we went down to see the genetic counselor. She informed us that the risk after the perfect u/s was reduced to 1:24, or 4-5%. I went in this morning thinking, I am definitely going to get an amnio. I was aware of the MaterniT21 test from all the research I’d done, but I wanted the fast results that the FISH test would provide. The days have passed very slowly since Friday and I was ready for some definitive answers. However, after learning that our risk had dropped, and feeling very confident after seeing Baby BOY Jig do his tumbling routine on the u/s, I opted instead for the MaterniT21 test. It is a new test – 7 months or so old – and the results are about 98% accurate. The main benefit is that it is noninvasive – it’s a blood test, so there is no danger to the baby. Results will take two weeks, and if they do come back positive, we will again have to consider amnio for a more definitive answer. I feel really optimistic now, though – preparing for the worst helped me cope and I feel comfortable no matter what the results are at this point. Of course I hope for a 100% perfectly healthy baby, but I am glad that he seems well and is snuggled in happily doing his thing.

One other note is based on his size, we seem to be about a week ahead of where we thought, which would move our due date to around the 24th of November. So we could be expecting a Thanksgiving baby. 🙂

Thank you AGAIN for all the love and support! Words cannot express my gratitude, appreciation, and awe at how lucky I am! xoxo

Quickie Update.

25 Jun

After much struggle, I finally got an appointment with a genetic counselor at Swedish for this Wednesday at 8am. They have scheduled me for an amnio directly following, which I can choose whether or not I want to do after meeting with the counselor.

Emotions I am feeling: scared, angry, frustrated, worried, sad – but also hopeful, loved, lucky, and a little peaceful. Thank you to all of you who have reached out to offer reassuring words, helpful/humorous anecdotes, and simply love. It matters more than you know, and I do thank God for having you all in my life. (If you have texted, fb messaged, or called me since I got the news, you are who I am talking about. THANK YOU. xoxo)

Genetic Testing, Down Syndrome, and the Unfolding Drama.

25 Jun

Heads up warning, this isn’t a beauty post – in case the title didn’t clue you in.

If you haven’t been following my reproductive misadventures and want to catch up, here are a couple blog posts:
Disaster Strikes
Good News

To summarize: We got pregnant, we lost the baby (and one of my Fallopian tubes in the process) in a big way, and then we found out we can still conceive because my other tube is a-okay. It almost seemed like this story was going to have a simple happy ending, as I am now 17 weeks pregnant, but nothing in life is simple, including this.

SO my husband was very, very insistent we get genetic testing for the baby – the non-invasive quad screen test. I really did not want to. His attitude was there’s probably nothing wrong, and if there is, knowing will give us time to prepare. My attitude was. these tests are not super accurate, and on the off-chance it shows there IS something wrong, we are going to have to go ahead and have an amniocentesis, because I am not going to spend the next five months of my pregnancy crying and wondering. The trouble with amnio is there is a chance it could harm the baby or end the pregnancy, so it’s a more risky procedure. Additionally, we aren’t planning to terminate the pregnancy regardless (although I have been waffling on this in my emotional upheaval the last few days), so that means five months of knowing the baby inside me is disabled if we had the amnio and it comes back positive.

I finally gave in to my husband and had the bloodwork and genetic ultrasound done. The first bloodwork and ultrasound came back normal, and I stupidly, stupidly let myself believe that meant everything was okay – this was a month or so ago. I had a regular prenatal appointment this past Tuesday where they took more blood for the cystic fibrosis test – I didn’t realize it was also for the second part of the genetic testing. Funny enough, they had a really, really hard time getting my blood out. I have tiny veins buried far under the surface – even experienced phlebotomists sometimes have a hard time with them. In this case, my midwife first tried my arm, then my hand, before calling in another doctor to help. I should have taken this as a sign.

Friday afternoon I got a voicemail message from my midwife’s partner stating that my blood results had come back, and I had tested positive for a 1:12 risk that my baby has Down syndrome. I listened to this message sitting in a nail salon after getting a mani pedi, and promptly began silently crying, humiliating myself in front of the nail technicians and all the other patrons. Awesome. I tried calling, texting, and emailing my husband, and could not get a response. I finally got myself under control enough to pay the bill and make it to my car, where I began hopelessly wailing. My midwife’s partner said in the voicemail that the next step was to contact a genetic counselor, who would discuss our options with us. I called the genetic counselor immediately. The first woman hung up on me. It really seemed like life was punching me in the face at this point. Oh, I haven’t even mentioned the best part – it was POURING rain. Like a hurricane. So here I am in my car, in a parking lot, sobbing uncontrollably, unable to reach my husband, rain pouring down – what a fiasco.

I finally reached someone at the perinatal unit and she was super nice and sympathetic. Unfortunately, she could not find my paperwork. In a helpful manner unlike many I have encountered in the medical world, she actually offered to call my midwife and find out where the paperwork was, then call me back. In a matter of minutes she did this, and told me that they would be faxing the paperwork over shortly and I should call back Monday to make my appointment, because a genetic counselor would need to look at the paperwork first before they could schedule me – this was around 1pm Friday.

I finally got to talk to my husband and he offered to call and try to get more information from the midwife. He also said he was going to come straight home.

After the call from my husband, my midwife’s partner called me back. She had no other real information for me. I managed to get myself together enough to drive and made it home, where I continued crying and cursing myself for being talked into doing something I knew was only going to bring bad news. I was angry not just at myself, but at God (who I’ve had a pretty tenuous relationship with anyhow since my cat, my mother-in-law, and my father all died in a 6-month period), my midwife, my husband, and the baby. I was screaming in the car in rage and fear and helplessness. It’s actually lucky I made it home okay, driving that way in such awful weather.

My husband got home within an hour and we cried together and he apologized profusely for making me get the testing, repeating again and again that he was wrong. I am angry with him, I’m not going to lie, but it’s not his fault and I can’t hold it against him. He’s optimistic and I am sure he never imagined we’d actually get bad news.

At this point, as one does, I began reading shit on the internet. I would say that 9 times out of 10 – nay, 99 times out of 100 – this is a terrible idea. Typically it just freaks you out more and brings up crazy possibilities you weren’t even aware of. In this case, however, it turned out to be very soothing. Of the anecdotes I read through online, almost all of them were women who, like me, had been told they were at increased risk for having a Downs baby and ended up having a healthy baby. Some women said their “risk” ratios were as high as 1:4, 1:3, and even 1:2 – yet they’d delivered healthy, unaffected babies. Many women railed against the quad screen test, calling it inaccurate and unnecessary. I read one article that stated that of the women who test positive for “increased risk,” NINETY PERCENT end up delivering healthy, unaffected babies. In addition, if you do the math, 1:12 comes out to about 8% – which means I have a 92% chance of having a healthy baby. All this information didn’t ease my mind completely or erase my worries, but it did help me get through the weekend.

(I realize at this point I am rambling a bit, kind of scattered, and probably overusing certain words and phrases, but this isn’t an essay, it’s a blog post, and I’m a bit scattered myself. So, apologies.)

This morning – Monday – I woke up at 7 because my hens were making a hell of a racket. Of course: I instantly thought, “Call the genetic counselor,” so there was no going back to sleep for me. I tried to call and got the voicemail stating that they opened at 8. I called at 8:05, 8:12, 8:16, 8:21, and 8:28, and each time got the voicemail stating that they were closed and opened at 8. Let me interject here and say AGGGHHHHH! This is NOT the first time this has happened to me – if you open at 8, open at 8! Good grief! Finally at 8:38 I got a person and after holding forever while she searched for my paperwork, found out that the genetic counselors STILL needed to review my case before they could make me an appointment. WTF. I realize this is their job, and they do this every day, but this is my LIFE. Have some empathy!

I asked WHEN they would call me back and was told, “sometime this morning.” At this point my husband awoke and came downstairs. I got off the phone and he asked me the details and I told him and then broke down again. I spent about fifteen minutes crying, calmed down, took a shower, and then lost it again, and cried for another half an hour. The worst part of this is I KNOW all this stress and sadness and worrying isn’t good for the baby, but I can’t stop it. I have never felt so helpless and confused in my life. I have no idea what to do, and right now there’s not much I CAN do except wait, which is totally counterintuitive.

I finally called my midwife, and she was sympathetic and understanding. She called the perinatal unit and told them to hurry up and call me back already, and they said they would do so before noon. It’s not quite 11am right now and I am just watching the minutes tick tick tick away and wondering what is next.

That’s the story as it stands. Generally I love being the center of attention – I danced burlesque, for God’s sake – and enjoy having a unique, interesting story to tell. In this case, however, I’d give pretty much everything I have to have a boring, no-drama, standard pregnancy. But I guess it’s too late for that now.

My Busted Tube

16 Mar

Let me start by saying this is not a product review or recommendation. This is a life event. I went through this, and when it happened to me, I felt really alone and scared, because no one else I knew had been through it. So it occurred to me that it makes sense to talk about it here, on the off-chance it could help someone else who is feeling the same way.

I’m just going to start at the start, because I actually learned some new things during this whole experience, so there may be things you don’t know, too.

Once a month, one of your ovaries releases an egg. I had always heard that your ovaries take turns – left ovary one month, right ovary the next. As it turns out, although this is often the case, it is not always the case. Sometimes one ovary can make most of the eggs, with the other ovary just chipping in once in a while; sometimes, only one ovary does all the work, always. It depends on the woman. This has no immediate effect on what happened to me, but it’s still an interesting fact.

When the egg begins its travel down the Fallopian Tube (in this picture, “Uterine Tube“), sometimes it meets a buddy, otherwise known as a sperm cell. If the egg and the sperm hit it off, they join forces, and most of the time, go on their first date down the tube and into the uterus, where they move in together, embedding themselves in one of the uterine walls.

Notice I said “most of the time.” This is because, in some cases, for some reason, the egg and sperm decide they just can’t wait to get to know each other better, and have to move in together RIGHT AWAY. Maybe they’re lazy, maybe they’re defective, maybe the road is blocked, there’s no real way to tell after the fact. But they embed themselves in the Fallopian Tube and start making a baby. This is known as an ectopic pregnancy. Sometimes these pregnancies spontaneously abort themselves, and sometimes the embryo keeps growing until the Fallopian tube breaks, resulting in internal bleeding and what is known as a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. The latter is what happened to me. Ectopic pregnancies are never viable long-term.

My husband and I started trying to conceive last spring, and our second month of trying, we got pregnant. I was astounded, scared, and not too thrilled that it happened so fast. Within a month, however, I was getting into the idea. We told our families and a few select friends, intending to make the big announcement after we hit the three-month mark. We bought books and journals, I stopped drinking entirely (we even went to Vegas and I hung out with my husband and our two friends while they got wasted), and generally began getting very, very excited. We went to the doctor immediately to have the pregnancy confirmed, made our first prenatal appointment, and started choosing names.

Around the sixth week, I started having some spotting. I read that this was normal, however – that as long as it was dark brown blood, not bright red, it was probably just a result of the egg implanting, and there was nothing to worry about. In spite of this, I was concerned, and very much looking forward to our first real visit to the obstetrician to allay my fears.

At about week seven and a half, I awoke one Sunday with terrible cramps. I thought I had to use the bathroom (I am prone to stomach difficulties), and did. The cramping seemed to ease slightly, then immediately began to get worse. I was in so much pain I was pacing, and my husband offered to take me to the ER. I declined, sure it was simply a bowel problem. He ran me a bath, which helped slightly, but again the pain returned, worse than ever. By this time I was in sheer agony, and I agreed to go to the ER. He was out of bed and dressed almost before the words were out of my mouth.

I don’t remember parts of the ride to Swedish; your brain really does fog out at a certain pain threshold. My husband dropped me off at the ER door and went to park while I checked in. When the admitting nurse asked how far along I was, I replied, “Seven weeks,” but I was rocking back and forth in pain, and she said, “Seven months?!?” Even in the state I was in, I was a bit offended.

They got me into triage almost immediately. They started pain meds pretty quickly but I was still in pain and kept yelling out. My husband was frantically running back and forth, finding nurses to help me. They called the on-call ObGyn and brought in a tech to do an ultrasound. They couldn’t do a CAT scan because I guess it could be a danger to a baby. The female tech silently scanned my stomach for what felt like an eternity. I finally asked what she thought the problem was. (I should probably say here that while I was at home, my husband had been Googling my pain to see what it could be. We were already prepared for the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy, appendicitis, or kidney stones.) The tech told me she couldn’t tell me anything, that I had to wait for the doctor to interpret the ultrasound. After a pause, she added, “I can tell you that I don’t see a pregnancy in the uterus.”

The doctor showed up before long. After examining me, he told me he was going to have to operate. He wasn’t 100% sure it was an ectopic, but was fairly sure it was either that or appendicitis, more likely the former. I had to sign paperwork and be prepped for surgery while high on pain meds, which was probably for the best – I had never had any major surgery before. I thought initially they could do the surgery vaginally, but the doctor told me that was not possible, that he was going to have to make a 3-inch incision above my pubic bone and go in that way.

A very kind nurse wheeled my gurney towards the OR, and waited VERY patiently while my husband and I said an extended good-bye/good luck. I suddenly realized I could die, and this would  be the last thing I would know before I ceased to exist. I could see the fear in my husband’s eyes as we repeatedly kissed and embraced, although he did an excellent job at keeping up a strong facade, acting as though he was certain everything would be fine. I don’t remember anything after that.

I woke up in a nice private room at Swedish. I had a morphine drip that I could control with a button by my bed. I had a 3 – 4″ incision above my pubic bone, and they’d shaved off part of my pubic hair. Moving was very, very painful, but the cramping was completely gone. My husband was beside me, and happy to see my eyes open. The doctor came in and talked to me, explaining that the problem was in fact a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. He had removed the damaged portion of Fallopian tube (a salpingectomy) leaving the other tube intact. I’d had to have a blood transfusion because of the amount of internal bleeding I’d experienced, which also explained the severe pain I’d been in – I guess bleeding internally is excruciating. My right tube was now completely useless for future conception, but there was worse news – he’d tried to probe through my left tube while he was performing the surgery, and was unable to move it. This meant there was a possibility that for whatever reason my left tube also had a blockage, and the only way my husband and I would be able to conceive in the future would be through IVF. In order to determine if the other tube was blocked, I would, some months down the road, have to undergo another procedure, called a hysterosalpingogram, or HSG test, or dye test. He told me we’d talk about that later. It was a lot to process. (Here’s the blog entry about that test.)

I don’t remember a lot about my three days in the hospital. I had a handful of really awesome friends come to visit – they know who they are, and I hope they know I will be forever grateful to them. I remember the nurse making me walk down the hall on day two, and almost passing out from the – not really pain, although it did hurt, but just – I don’t know, it didn’t feel good. My stomach felt weird, I could feel the stitches, and combined with the pain meds, it wasn’t pretty. I slept a LOT. I ate almost nothing. And my husband was there every minute, every hour, sitting next to me, sleeping next to me, answering every question, getting a nurse for my every request. He was a saint, and I will never forget that.

When I went home, I still had strong pain killers, and I slept a lot on the couch. I slept like 18 hours a day, maybe more, and I think it was the best possible thing for me – I healed quickly and well. My first post-op visit, the doctor told me, “You’re probably safe to drive now,” and I’d already been driving for days. Physically, I did as well as or better than can be expected.

Mentally – well, as I weaned myself off the drugs, reality set in. My will to live had kept me pushing, healing, sleeping. But once I was on safe ground again, my brain remembered: I’d been pregnant. And now I wasn’t. And that sucked.

I tucked away all our pregnancy books. I deleted the baby name app from my phone. Losing the pregnancy was hard, even though it had only been 7 and a half weeks in; losing the tube was a lot harder. I’d lost part of my reproductive anatomy, and a big question mark hung over my ability to conceive.

We struggled through the months until it was time to get the HSG test. We weren’t allowed to start trying again, and I felt like we were in a state of limbo, not sure what our next move would be or when we could make it. Plus the more I read up on the HSG test, the more frightened I became.

I’ll do a whole nother entry about the HSG test – it deserves it – but in the end, we got the news that my left tube is open. 🙂 Just typing it makes me feel good all over again. We have been trying to conceive ever since we were allowed to start again – last September, so about six months now – with no luck. So it’s still pretty easy to get down about it, especially after learning that fact about ovaries I mentioned above. What if only one of my ovaries is doing all the work, and it’s the right one? What if I don’t lay eggs with my left ovary? Am I prepared to go through all the madness of IVF? It’s been tough because it seems like I’ve had at least two dozen friends either give birth or announce they were pregnant since this all went down, and as happy as I am for them (really, I LOVE babies), there’s still a sadness in me that I can’t assuage. And part of me is jealous of women, even women I love, who get effortlessly pregnant. I hate that part of me, but it’s there.

So anyhow, I survived! And I continue to survive, and maybe one day I’ll even make a little Katelet. But for now, I am lucky to be alive and happy to vacation where and when we want, and drink what I want, and stay out as late as I want. Still – I hope that changes before too long. 🙂