Thursday, June 30, 2011

Preparing For An IUI And Approaching 6 Months

Don't know what an IUI is, just click here.
I had my 3rd follicle u/s check on Tuesday morning and the little buggers are growing very very slowly my Dr. says. She is hoping that by today the only good sized one I have left will be big enough finally. I also had decided the day before the appt that I really really really want to do an IUI now. Dereck didn't want to do one this first month of ttc again because he wanted to see if I could get pregnant without the help of any fertility stuff, or by just using Clomid. He was hoping that maybe since I had been pregnant it would be easier for us this time to get pregnant again. At first even my Dr. had said that we should try a month first without doing an IUI but now she was thinking it was in our best interest to do it also.

I really want to believe that my body will get pregnant without an IUI but I also want to get pregnant asap. I want to know I did everything I could the first time and if I don't get pregnant then we can try again next month, but at least I'll know I did everything I could right away. I have hated my body for so long for failing me in the past while ttc Liam, and I just don't trust it to get pregnant without any help. I know it could be worse, that I could be having to do IVF, but either way I still hate it that we have to use anything at all to get pregnant. Why couldn't it just be easy and I could get pregnant the first time without any help, have a baby with no birth defects, and of course one that lives? Or is that asking for too much?

My Dr. had wanted me to do the HCG injection on Thursday night and do the IUI on Saturday morning. She thinks that would be the best day to do it but I am going out of town to Dawson City with Dereck and some friends for the 4th of July weekend. I have been wanting to go back to Dawson City for awhile. Dereck and I went a few years ago and my friends have never been there. It's more so a "we want to gamble and there is a little casino there and there isn't any casinos in Alaska" kind of trip. I was hesitant to want to make plans in advance to go though because we have been stressing so much about all our medical bills from the fetal surgery and all the flying we have had to do in the past 6 months to get the surgery and then for the funeral and burial stuff and now paying for these ultrasounds that ins. isn't covering sucks. Then when I went to buy the HCG shot I apparently forgot how much that cost because my jaw dropped when they told me how much I owed and that yet again my ins. doesn't cover it. Which I know my ins. doesn't cover infertility stuff but I am just really sick of my ins. in general not covering anything I have had done this year. I don't want to sound like a big complainer about all of this because I know other fertility stuff costs so much more than what I am doing and well anyone that has a baby in the NICU or other medical problems I would assume feel the same way. I guess I am just thinking about our next baby and how I want to be a stay at home mom so bad and afraid that I might have to stay working until we can get caught up on all our medical bills. Dereck has a great job and can get overtime almost anytime he wants it but I also don't want him to be working so much that he is never around to watch his child grow. I know I should just quit thinking so much about everything but that's what I do, I think and I worry, especially about a lot of stuff I can't even control. Not mention there are way worse things to complain and be stressed about- like your baby dying. I just want to be the best parent I can and give the next baby the everything.

Okay back to HCG injection and IUI. As I said above she wanted to do the IUI on Saturday but I am out of town. That was kind of another reason why I worried about making plans and going because I just had this feeling that about the time we wanted to go out of town it would end up being the exact time my body would decide to ovulate. And sure enough that's exactly how's its going to be. My Dr. decided to just do everything a day early, so at 1:30am Dereck gave me the HCG injection in my backside, then I will get the IUI tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 pm. Thankfully my work has been very understanding this past week since I have been having to leave early or come in late a bunch this past week for all my appt.'s.

I am so excited and yet still so nervous. I am excited of course because I want to be pregnant so badly again and the time has finally come. I just wish I didn't have to wait at least another week or so to find out if am pregnant or not. I also realized that my perinatologist at UCSF had told us that they would prefer that we wait at least 6 months until ttc again and Sunday will be exactly 6 months so if I get pregnant from the IUI on Friday its just 2 days shy of the 6 month mark.

On the other hand though, Sunday also marks exactly 6 months since the fetal surgery and Liam passing away. Not sure how I feel about that yet and a little nervous. I have been in such a great mood these past few weeks. I am not sure if I am just that excited and caught up in the whole ttc time or if maybe I am just better at handling my emotions now. I mean I am not forgetting Liam and I think about him every minute of everyday still but I do cry a lot less these days. I actually don't think I have cried in over a week if not two weeks. I will be with friends all weekend and hopefully having a great time, so I hope the sadness doesn't hit me and I am unable to get myself together to enjoy the rest of our weekend away.

Plus, wondering if I am pregnant will be on my mind the entire time which makes me more nervous because I am freaking out about what I am going to eat because I am crazy(excessively crazy) about my folic acid intake these days. As I have said in my previous post on folic acid and neural tube defects I have been consuming either something fortified or with folate in it at every meal along with my extra folic acid vitamins. Also since neural tube defects occur within the first 18 days, if I am pregnant this time is crucial for me. A little anal about this I know, but it is on my mind daily. I think I might be packing my Total cereal for this trip.

And yes Liz, if you read this, I do really want to go out of town with you guys this weekend. It will be a lot of fun and is a much needed get away, just a lot on my mind lately.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Second Appeal Letter And Follicle Check

That's what I get to work on today. After 2 months of waiting I finally hear back from my insurance company about my first appeal letter in regards to my flex spending account. DENIED! This just pisses me off! I missed that deadline by 6 fricken days. Ahhhh! I'm sorry people my son died, I was incredibly depressed and stressed and healing from surgery. Oh and did I mention I was planning a funeral. Grrrr! I can't believed they denied it. So here I am trying to write a second appeal letter. Is there anything I can say that will actually change there mind. Nothing has changed and no new information has came up for me to submit. I shared with them my reasoning and I think its a pretty damn good one. I have always been the person to pay bills and do other paperwork on time and the one time I don't I get double screwed. Not only did we already pay that money into our flex account, but we still had to pay those bills, so we get to lose double the money unless they can decide to have a little sympathy for me. GRRRR!

Had my u/s follicle check appt. Friday morning and my follicles were not quite big enough yet. My Dr, and me, were hoping this weekend they would be, but now I have to go back in on Tuesday and get them looked at. I am happy she wants to help me every step of the way with this to ensure my best chances of getting pregnant, but all these ultrasounds, that insurance doesn't cover because its for infertility, is crazy expensive.
I know she also said this to me last year on my u/s's, but when she see's two follicles close in size and tells me I could end up with twins I get all excited thinking "me, really, a chance at twins". I get that idea stuck in my head and then if I don't end up pregnant I am doubly disappointed. I know the chances are still small, and would be super worried about my uterus holding up, but I think twins would be awesome. Challenging yes, but I just think it would be a nice addition to the story.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Grief Group

My amazing friend Brooke just got back from a couple of weeks in the Virgin Islands and while she was there she created this with a flashlight in the sand: 

Grief group was tonight, but tonight wasn't like all of the other nights I have gone to though. These past 2 weeks since the last group meeting I have felt really good. Yes there was the breakdown I had with the NICU resulting in me needing to take a break from it and also a few other things that I will write about later, but overall I've been feeling pretty good. I know it is okay for me to have good days and perfectly normal to still have really bad days, but tonight I felt a little out of place. I wanted to share all about me and Dereck being in the process of ttc and how by the next group session I may(hopefully) or may not be pregnant. I have just been so excited for this time to finally be here, but it just didn't seem right. I barely said a word and normally I am really talkative and wishing I could just speak the entire time. I want to tell them all about it, especially if I do get pregnant again.
Would it be inappropriate of me to come out with that news to a room full of people that can either no longer have kids or who have recently lost there babies and/or aren't to the point of ttc again? I guess I am afraid they will think I am rubbing it in their faces if I tell them this wonderful news of mine. After all I still get that stabbed in the heart feeling when I hear that another person I know is pregnant or just had there perfect, healthy baby.
If you were at a child loss grief group and someone announced that they were pregnant again how would you feel? I could not tell them for awhile but eventually I am going to have to. Hmm......

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Chariot

Chariot Cougar 2 chassis

The first thing I ever bought for Liam was a chariot, the Chariot Cougar 2 to be exact. If you don't know what it is, well it is only the coolest invention ever for an active parent! I think I was only a month pregnant when I was already searching Craigslist for one. There are a couple different models you can buy, along with tons of attachments for whatever activity you are doing. For anyone who doesn't know anything about them I'll explain a little on why I think they are so awesome and hope you agree. When you go to buy a chariot you are just buying the chassis and have to get all of the attachments separately. You also need to decide if you want a one seater or two seater. I bought the two seater of course, because I want at least 2-3 babies, and want to be sure I can take them everywhere. There is a bike attachment you can also purchase so that you can pull your little ones behind you on your bike. You can also get a sidecar attachment if you'd prefer that instead. You can get the front side wheels to make it a stroller and/or the one large front wheel to turn it into a jogger. There is also a skiing and hiking attachment as well.

I ended up finding mine on Craigslist for an amazing deal and it looked barely used, perfect! Like I said above the one I bought was the Chariot Cougar 2 chassis and the seller also had the bike attachment, jogger, and stroller attachments. Included also was an infant sling for use with babies 1 to 10 months in age. Once Liam got older I would probably end up buying the Baby Supporter for infants 6-18 months old as well. The seller did not have the ski attachment which I also really wanted. The ski attachment is quite spendy, well chariots in general are really spendy, but all the awesome crap tends to be, and that is why I searched Craigslist first. My husband convinced me to wait on buying the ski attachment since Liam wouldn't have been able to use it until the following winter anyway, so I had time. I would have eventually bought it though to take him cross country skiing with me and probably also got him the bunting bag to keep him warm. There is also a hiking attachment but I figured I didn't need that because I would just carry Liam on my chest or back in a carrier instead of buying that.

This past winter I did get out a few times skiing after Liam passed away but luckily I never came across anyone skiing with their chariot. This spring I had seen quite a bit of people out with there chariots and strollers and tried to not let it bother me, but now it is summer.  I should have at least a 3 month old by now or if he would have been able to be resuscitated but still had to be delivered then I would have a 5 1/2 months old. Either way you look at it Liam should be here with me enjoying our first summer together. 

I would give anything to be that happy mom out for either an afternoon jog or bike ride with the dogs and my little boy riding along. But summer is here, luckily my energy is back, and I have been trying to get out as much as possible. I will continue to be out hiking, biking, and jogging like I have many summers in the past, but the chariot will have to be left at home in storage. Hopefully next summer the chariot will be able to make an appearance strolling around the neighborhood with Liam's little brother or sister in it.

Did anybody else have an similar type of item that they were super excited to get and bought as soon as they new they were pregnant to use with there new baby? outside of nursery, baby clothes, feeding supplies, stuff like that

Friday is my ultrasound to check the follicles and see how they reacted to the clomid. I am so frigging' excited and nervous all at once. This coming weekend should be the weekend that will hopefully mark the start of another pregnancy. I know many of you other blm's out there are in the process of ttc right now also and I want you to know that I have been praying everyday for all of us that this is going to be the month.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Father's Day March For Babies

On Sunday Dereck, Liz, and I did the March for Babies walk through the Whittier Tunnel. Up until a couple years ago the Whittier tunnel was the longest underground tunnel in North America. It is 2.5 miles long, single lane, shared with trains, and there's a toll to drive through it. It was pretty cool to get a different view of it being able to walk through it versus driving. It turned out to be a rainy, gloomy day, but the walk was still good, especially since we were inside the tunnel instead of out getting rained on.

I want to thank everyone who donated, $1540 was raised! I sure hope Liam was proud of his mama. Next year and hopefully many years after I will continue to do this walk in memory of Liam. Next year hopefully Liam's little brother or sister will be with us walking in his memory also.

We had shirts made if you can read them "Remembering Liam Maximilian January 3, 2011" and we sported them proudly!
Sunday was also Fathers Day and all the dad's got special shirts for being there. I wish Liam could have been with us, although I know I probably wouldn't have even thought about doing the walk if he was here. I felt so bad for Dereck though, so many other families were there with their little ones and their we are walking in memory of ours :(.

Dereck is so good with kids, it seems that no matter where we go he always has kids jumping on him and begging him to play with them. I think my nephews like him more than me even. He loved and wanted Liam so much. He was a great dad to him in his short life and I know he will be an incredible father to the rest of our future babes.
My nephews and Dereck

Friday, June 17, 2011

Folic Acid, Pregnancy, and Neural Tube Defects

If you were to ask most people who know me they would tell you that I am a pretty healthy person. I exercise, eat lots of whole grains, fruits, veggies, good proteins, drink lots of water, and take my vitamins. So when I found out I had a baby with a neural tube defect I freaked out and wondered where I went wrong. There are so many people that never take prenatal vitamins or eat very good foods and there babies turn out fine, so what went wrong with mine?

Many things can affect a baby, including family genes and things women may come in contact with during pregnancy. Taking folic acid cannot guarantee having a healthy baby, but it can help.

The doctors told me that they are not sure what caused Liam's Spina Bifida but for my next pregnancy they want me to take a lot of extra folic acid. They said I can take up to 4000mcg a day, my prenatal has 1000mcg and I have been taking another folic acid supplement providing me with another 2800mcg. I have been taking this amount of folic acid for the last few weeks and will continue through the first trimester of my next pregnancy.

Research has shown that if all women who could possibly become pregnant were to take a multivitamin with folic acid, the risk of neural tube defects like Spina Bifida could be reduced by up to 70%.

The 2 most common neural tube defects are anencephaly and spina bifida. Spina Bifida, like my son had, occurs when an unborn baby’s spinal column does not close properly to protect the spinal cord. This usually occurs within the first month of pregnancy(usually completed by the 28th day often before a women knows she is pregnant) which is why it is so important to be taking the proper amount of folic acid the month before you're even trying to conceive. Most women should be taking at least 400-800mcg a day but if you are like me and already have had a baby with a neural tube defect 4000mcg is recommended.

Spina bifida is the most frequently occurring permanently disabling birth defect and the most common Neural Tube Defect. It affects approximately one out of every 1,000 newborns in the United States.

When I was pregnant with Liam I took only my prenatal vitamins and assumed my healthy diet was enough. For most people that probably was. I have since learned though that your body does not absorb folate(which you naturally get from certain foods) as well as the synthetic kind-folic acid. It is important to still eat foods that naturally supply it but its also very important to eat fortified foods. Apparently your body processes synthetic folic acid(man made) a lot better. I rarely ever ate any fortified foods since I tend to eat a lot more whole foods, which you'd think would be better, or so I thought. So when I read that I was freaking out thinking that must have been where I went wrong with my last pregnancy. Well, maybe that would've helped. I guess I can't change what happened with Liam now, and whether or not my diet included the extra folic acid, beyond my prenatal, from natural or fortified foods or not I am going to be doing everything I can now to ensure the next pregnancy gets enough folic acid.

Folic acid, is a common water-soluble B vitamin (B9) that helps build healthy cells, and is essential for the functioning of the human body. During periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy and fetal development, the body's requirement for this vitamin increases.

The average American diet surprisingly does not supply the recommended level of folic acid.

So like I said I am taking lots of folic acid supplements right now. I also have researched all types of foods that supply folate/folic acid and how much of it they each provide. Here are some big ones:

lentils, leafy greens, avocado, citrus, beans, broccoli, fortified breads and cereals, wheat germ, tomatoes, papaya, cantaloupe, eggs, nuts, sweet potatoes, peas, raspberries, asparagus, mushrooms, poultry, pork, etc. 

Lots of foods, lots of options, and a lot of the things I used to eat a lot of. So next to the supplements and most of the foods listed above, the one thing I will be adding into my diet are more fortified foods. This might seem a little excessive but I am not playing around this pregnancy!  So here is what I am eating every morning for breakfast:

Total Cereal, this kind even has Omega- 3's, and pretty good tasting also

And just check out the nutritional info on the side of this box (if you can read it). I love seeing all the 100%'s, especially next to the folic acid.

So here folks is everything that I'll be consuming a lot of in the following months, possibly through the next pregnancy, or at least until the prescreen and the ultrasound show there are no signs of a neural tube defect. And hopefully nothing else either.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Feeling Like A Quitter

Today has been horrible and its only 4:00. I had been in this great mood all week and now today I woke up incredibly tired, cranky, and really missing my little boy. I also had to do my shift at the NICU today, which I knew even before going in was going to be rough. I tried to get myself in a better mood before I headed in, but nothing worked. On my walk into the hospital all I could think about was UCSF. That hospital is just engraved into my brain and I hate it. I know that's where everything with mine and my son's life changed forever but I think about that damn place about as often as I think about Liam. It's always on my mind and now here I am picturing it and comparing it to the hospital I am volunteering at. Get out of my head, it's just a hospital! GRRR!

I got into the NICU and searched for a baby that needed to be cuddled. Right away one of the nurses told me I could hold one of her's. I had held this baby before, so I picked her up and took a seat. She was crying when I went and picked her up and thought she would just quiet down or fall asleep as soon as I rocked her. Nope, I'm not that lucky! She screamed on and off the entire 2 hours. I wanted to scream, cry, and runaway. I know babies cry but this was the first time I have held a baby there that has cried that much. Why today? Thankfully time seemed like it went fairly fast, probably because I was constantly talking, rocking, and holding the baby in all sorts of ways in hopes to get her to calm down. Which nothing worked by the way.

When I left the NICU today I just knew it was time. Time that is for me to go and talk to the volunteer coordinator about either dropping a shift, changing volunteer areas, or just stop volunteering all together. The lady in charge of the volunteer department is so sweet and easy to talk to. I probably would have chickened out and sent an email if it was anybody else I needed to talk to. I broke down crying in front of her telling her how sorry I am and that I am having such a hard time lately. I told her how much I wanted to do this at first for those babies, myself, and for Liam, but now even wanting to go in has been hard. She said she understood, she knows my story, and asked what I wanted to do from here. She told me there were openings in the Adult Critical Care Unit if I would like to try that. She said that all I would be doing there is sitting at the front desk checking in families and friends that are there to see a loved one. I'm not so sure I want to do that, yes I would be helping the nurses and the families, but think I just need to get away from the hospital for a bit. At least until I need to be there to deliver my next babe.

I told her I would think about it but since I am trying to get pregnant again I am getting super paranoid about everything. I even mentioned how I am probably driving my Ob Dr. nuts with all my questions. I am just so afraid of things going wrong again. I mentioned to her that I know women work in the NICU and all other areas of the hospital when they are pregnant, so I am sure I'd be fine volunteering if I was, but my paranoia is telling me I am going to somehow catch every little bug going around in there. Am I sounding crazy again? It's not like I can hide from germs, I work in a medical office directly with patients after all.

We talked a little longer about my loss and she even talked to me a little about a loss of her own and how she understands how I feel. In the end she said maybe I should just take this time to concentrate on myself and getting pregnant and that these opportunities will still be here if I decide I want to come back. I told her if I was having a good day and notice a time on the volunteer fill in sheet maybe I'll come in on occasion and see how it goes.

So for as of right now my time in the NICU has come to an end. I am feeling like a quitter and am letting those babies, myself, and Liam down. I just want Liam here and things to be okay. What a shitty day.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is There Any Chance You Might Be Pregnant?

I work in the medical field as a Radiologic Technologist so most of my job involves taking x-rays, which involves radiation, and because of that I have to ask every female patient of childbearing age (more like 10-60) if they are pregnant. Most people respond with a simple "no", which I like. Then there are the others who feel the need to be like "HELL NO" or I hear "oh I'm done with that I already have 3 or 4 or 5". I mean its not like it makes me break down and cry and causes me extreme anquish or anything, but really a simple no would be just fine.

Anybody else work in the medical field and have to ask there patients the "are you pregnant" question or anything along those lines? I get nervous thinking about going to places and having people even ask me if I have kids and here as part of my job I have to ask almost all my female patients if they are pregnant. I wonder if any of them have ever been on my end saying no and crying on the inside knowing that they should still be pregnant and/or grieving over a loss. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Here We Go

Yesterday was a GREAT day! Why, you might ask? I got my period and was dancing and smiling all afternoon at work. I have been waiting for months to get to this point. I was so excited and still am today and probably will be all week, and the week after, and hopefully even happier if a positive pregnancy test follows a week or so later!  Of course if my period decides to show in July there will be more kicking and screaming than dancing and smiling, but right now I am just trying to think positive though because my body does not need any added stress right now.

Today was my appointment with my Ob Dr. so she could check out my follicles and get a good look at my uterus for another pregnancy. She said both of my ovaries have lots of follicles (YES!), although the right one is sitting really high and looks like it is stuck to my uterus. She said this is probably from the surgery and she doesn't think it'll cause any issues. Hope not, because I want everything to be perfect for this cycle. She then looked at my uterus checking out my fetal surgery/c-section incision. She told me it was looking really good and said that it looks like there is no sign of thinning around the incision area (YES!). That was exactly what I wanted to hear since a uterine rupture with the next pregnancy is one of my biggest fears next to having another baby with a birth defect and of course stillbirth. So overall another good Ob visit!

So here I am typing this, still so excited for this cycle, and feeling good and so optimistic. I start taking the Clomid tomorrow from cycle days 3-7. I then go back to see my Ob on the 24th to get another ultrasound to see how the follicles reacted to the Clomid. Also at that visit my Dr. will decide if I should do the HCG injections again. If they can up my chances of getting pregnant again I'd prefer to do them no matter what. I'd prefer to even do an IUI again just so my chances are better, but I'll do whatever my Dr. thinks is best. So here we go, our first month of trying to conceive again after losing Liam.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Birthday Call To My Mom

I spoke with my mom about an hour ago. I called to wish her a happy birthday and see how her weekend was since her and my dad had gone camping for the weekend. She mentioned the weather and also how they seen some old friends there that they haven't seen in years. She then started telling me about this older man that they know and how last time they saw him he had brought his 4 granddaughters with him and this time he had 3 grandsons along. My mom said that one of the boys (not sure on the age) was talking about how he loves giving massages. My mom asked if she could get a neck rub since it was her birthday and he said sure. She said she asked him a few questions pertaining to his family and things he likes to do but then at the end of the neck massage asked him what his name was. And wouldn't you know it, his name just so happened to be Liam. As soon as my mom said that I broke out into tears. Liam, was that really that boys name? Was that just some crazy random coincidence that some boy she's never met that happens to be named Liam gives my mom a neck rub on her birthday? Was this some kind of sign from Liam here to give his grandma a massage on her birthday? Who knows, but it still brought me to tears hearing that.


What it is it about that word?
I overheard a conversation the other night between two women. The one was telling the other about how she hasn't been getting much sleep because she's been working extra shifts and then taking care of a couple month old baby. The other lady then asked her if the baby she was taking care of was her grandchild. The lady responds saying "no" and that her grandchild died on New Years Eve in California.

What California? You were in California New Years Eve? So was I! I heard that and so wanted to interrupt and ask what city, what hospital, what from, what happened? That would have been weird though, right?

I understand that California is a large state with many hospitals, but I just kept wondering if we were at the same hospital at close to the same time dealing with the same type of loss? I don't know what it is about California. Yes that's where my whole life took a huge turn for the worse. The state where all my hopes and dreams for my baby were crushed. I just hear that word and the pain comes creeping back. It is like a major love-hate feeling. I hear the word California or San Francisco even and my heart races and I just want to know why someone is talking about those places. Maybe I am just hoping that at one point I'll meet someone who has gone through what I have; Fetal surgery to correct Myelomeningocele resulting in the death of your baby. Highly unlikely:(

The lady then continued to say it took her about 4 good months of crying till she finally started feeling better. I felt so bad for her hearing that and so wanted to go give her a huge hug, ask how her son or daughter are handling the loss, and tell her about Liam and my own experience. My heart broke for her and I didn't even know the whole story. I wanted to know, but I probably knew enough, she lost her grandchild, and her son or daughter lost there child and it sucks.

Thank you Malory

Friday, June 10, 2011

One Big Puzzle

I had to share this great analogy that fellow blm Dana had on her recent blog post.