My New Numbers

I was secretly hoping that we’d be one of those couples that suddenly, after one baby, crossed over to being able to get pregnant again easily on our own! My new numbers aren’t particularly encouraging… it seems most of the big things have gotten just a little bit worse than before our IVF, successful FET, and healthy pregnancy and birth of our baby girl (who is now 1.5 years old). This is the full table with some of my previous results in the last column for reference. I’ll talk about a few highlights (lowlights?) below.

Test Low Normal High Reference Range Units previous
CBC 6/26/17
immature grans (abs) 0 0.0-0.1 x10E3/uL 0
immature granulocytes 0 % 0
baso (absolute) 0 0.0-0.2 x10E3/uL 0
eos (absolute) 0.1 0.0-0.4 x10E3/uL 0.1
monocytes(absolute) 0.4 0.1-0.9 x10E3/uL 0.3
lymphs (absolute) 2.7 0.7-3.1 x10E3/uL 2.5
neutrophils (absolute) 3.4 1.4-7.0 x10E3/uL 4
basos 0 % 0
eos 2 % 2
monocytes 6 % 5
lymphs 41 % 36
neutrophils 51 % 57
platelets 284 150-379 x10E3/uL 258
rdw 12.9 12.3-15.4 % 12.4
mchc 33.6 31.5-35.7 g/dL 33.3
mch 30.9 26.6-33.0 pg 30.9
mcv 92 79-97 fL 93
hematocrit 42.9 34.0-46.6 % 42.3
hemoglobin 14.4 11.1-15.9 g/dL 14.1
rbc 4.66 3.77-5.28 x10E6/uL 4.57
wbc 6.6 3.4-10.8 x10E3/uL 6.9
IRON
iron saturation 48 15-55 %
iron, serum 137 27-159 ug/dL 115
uibc 149 131-425 ug/dL
iron bind.cap.(tibc) 286 250-450 ug/dL 306
ferritin, serum 43 15-150 ng/mL 67, 62
vitamin b12 662 211-946 pg/mL 1767
vitamin d, 25-hydroxy 39.1 30.0-100.0 ng/mL 33, 50
Thyroid
tsh 3.32 0.450-4.500 uIU/mL 2.15
t4,free(direct) 1.04 0.82-1.77 ng/dL 0.9
triiodothyronine,free,serum 2.8 2.0-4.4 pg/mL 2.7
thyroid peroxidase (tpo) ab 13 0-34 IU/mL 1.5
thyroglobulin antibody 5.3 0.0-0.9 IU/mL 4.1
Hormones
estradiol 13.1 pg/mL 42, 25
lh 6.8 mIU/mL
fsh 13.9 mIU/mL 10.4, 11.2
anti-mullerian hormone (amh) 0.391 ng/mL 0.75, 1.1

CBC: This was sent to a different Dr. so I haven’t talked through it with anyone but the numbers here don’t seem to have changed much. All other tests were talked through with the naturopathic Dr. I worked with before the successful FET.

Iron & B12: She thought these looked fine, I’ve been taking my good old blood builder every now and then (I try to be better about it when I have my period), and my B12 dissolving tablets, but I haven’t been taking either of these super consistently/frequently in the last several months. Seems like that’s ok, but I’ll try to keep taking them every so often.

Vitamin D: She suggested this is a little low so I’ll try to be better about taking this, it’s also slipped a bit- really everything has slipped a bit except for the prenatal, which I’m still pretty good about!

Thyroid tests: And here’s where things start going downhill… my TSH is back up- a little bit higher than it was when I first had it tested and the RE I saw at the time started me on levothyroxine. I was really hoping this wouldn’t happen as I really don’t want to go back on the meds. She suggested an alternative called thyrocsin that would also be safe while breastfeeding (my little one still nurses quite regularly even though my periods seem back to normal). I haven’t looked into it much yet though. I was also really disappointed to see the antibodies level- my only result in the ‘high’ category, which indicates an autoimmune issue. I’ve still been avoiding gluten most of the time but I’d like to not do that forever… I didn’t get much time to talk to her about this, but will try to follow up.

FSH & AMH: Argh. Not what I’d hoped for. They’ve both kept going in the wrong direction with FSH increasing from the 10 and 11 I had before to 13- almost 14. and AMH down to 0.391 after hovering closer to 1 previously. As a quick recap, high FSH indicates my follicles are having to work harder to produce the eggs, and the low AMH indicates diminished ovarian reserve. My Dr. said she thinks AMH consistently comes out slightly lower at the lab where mine was tested this time, and that it goes down after pregnancy/birth and it’s unknown if extended breastfeeding might influence it, but it’s still gone down a bit.

So there it is, not encouraging. She said she thinks we should not give up hope and even if we don’t do IVF again she thinks we have a shot. Because we never learned anything about why things didn’t work for us without IVF before, I’m pretty skeptical. She also mentioned the magical ‘once you’ve had a baby it just seems to make it easier to have another’ idea, which I’ve heard from several people now, but I’m also skeptical of that! I don’t want to regret not doing something as easy as taking a few supplements to see if it might work, so I guess we’ll put in a little effort. We’ve already decided that IVF is on the edge of the table… not completely off, but very much not a likely option for us again.

She suggested a few things that are safe while breastfeeding to help boost egg quality- so back to the CoQ10 I go, and added a couple of new things for me- Inositol, and a combo of vitex, shatavari, and macha tinctures. Still processing it all and where we go from here… and how much effort we should put in while she’s still breastfeeding… Whatever happens, at least we have this amazing little person in our lives. I’d love for her to have a sibling- it’s been so cute watching her interact with other kids, but if it’s not in the cards, we’ll be ok as our little family of 3.

 

And so it begins again…

My baby girl is 14 1/2 months old, still hard to believe! And even though she still breastfeeds quite a bit, my period has found its way back (2 years this month since my last period before our embryo transfer- I can’t say I missed it!). About a month ago I had a very faint shadow of a period, but this time I know it’s not a fluke. This brings a flood of feelings and questions, should we actively ‘try’ to get pregnant again? What would that even entail for us now? Is it even worth it? Should we get some tests done to see where we stand, even though I don’t think we’ll make it down the road of IVF again? Since we changed our insurance what will this mean financially and where would we go for testing? I don’t think I’m really ready to think about answers to these questions, my days are still filled with taking care of her and barely finding time to do the ‘me’ things that used to fill my days before. A part of me longs to be pregnant again and wishes she could have a sibling to grow up with, especially since we aren’t very close to any of her cousins, but I also don’t really feel like IVF is an option again, and we still don’t know anything more about why things don’t seem to work for us without intervention. Really, I wish we had another embryo or two, but that feels selfish, because we were so lucky to get our sweet baby girl. I definitely don’t feel ready to take the plunge back into the sea of infertility…

As a quick update, she’s doing great. Just starting the adventure of walking, she still prefers to hold one hand, which I don’t mind at all! She’s doing better on the sleep end- still sleeping with us but waking up 1-3 times per night (major improvement from a few months ago where 3 times up were her good nights- knock on wood this holds!). She had a pretty bad cold (bronchiolitis) and still has a cough that comes out at night and wakes her up occasionally, hopefully this is on its way out. Her favorite word is “hi,” she often says it over and over again until you say it back, or keep going back and forth. She also likes “hot,” which she likes to say as a whisper and will blow or wave her hand like when we tell her something is not, and “fish.” All of these with a big smile that is impossible to resist! She likes making screeching sounds if we say or she sees a bird, and moos for cows, and even the cartoon duck sound that her dad makes for ducks! She does lots of signing- more, food, all done, waving, fish, tree, please, thank you… probably more I can’t think of, not bad for only making it to a handful of sign language classes. She likes to comb/brush hair, hers and ours, and play all kinds of musical instruments, especially percussion. She’s still at the top of the growth chart (99-100%), maxed out the height of her infant car seat at 1 year. She loves to dance- mostly either swaying side to side or tapping her feet as fast as she can, and hugs and pets her stuffed animals. Points out her and our noses, eyes, ears, mouths, hair, and belly buttons. I’ve taken her to music classes and was so proud of her for learning to put the instruments back in the bin by herself and not get upset about it, this was so hard for her at the beginning!

It’s a lot of fun being full time mommy getting to spend so much time with her and see her try all of these new things, but it’s also pretty exhausting, and at times frustrating (especially when she feels the need to knock food off of her tray or rub it in her hair, sigh!). She’s kind of waffling between one nap and two, and since I still nurse her to sleep, she naps in our bed too. I can’t leave her alone because the bed is high and we have wood floors, so I stay with her, which means I can’t get much done unless I can do it on my phone. I still have my business and do programs once a month or so, and will be teaching for 3 weeks again this summer- which I need to find some time to prepare for. I still need to work on building more of a mommy-network but it’s been tougher than I thought. The mommy & me yoga class was just cancelled because not enough moms were showing up. Some mom friends have moved away and others have gone back to work part or full time. I’ll keep trying! I feel like it’s really important to let her have time with other kids, especially if she ends up being an only child.

Thanks for reading, sending hope to wherever you are in your story.

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Shingles, Breastfeeding & Sleep… or lack there of.

Yikes, it’s been a while since I posted!  Things have been a bit rough lately with sleeping- hence no free time to be on the computer!  My baby girl is 10 months old today! Last week I got the lovely surprise of finding out I have shingles.  Yes the thing you see commercials for old people to get vaccinated for… apparently it’s not all that uncommon for younger people (who have had chicken pox) to also get it, and I’m one of the lucky ones!  Actually, I am a little lucky that it’s not worse.  It could be on my face or hands or breasts which would make things even harder for trying not to infect my baby.  If she contacts the blisters, she could get chicken pox, and she won’t be vaccinated until 1 year.  So far I just have some lovely clusters of pink bumps around my right hip.

It first started with just a very sensitive feeling like you’ve been wearing too tight clothes with a seam digging in for too long.  But I got suspicious when I purposefully wore looser clothing and still had this weird feeling.  It was almost like a sunburn or healing scrape tightness feeling. In another day or so I had already decided to call the Dr. and noticed some pink bumps appearing. He confirmed my fear that it was shingles- which is the first thing that pops up when I googled my symptoms! The diagnosis was based mostly on the fact that I felt the burning type pain before the spots appeared. So he sent me off with a prescription for Acyclovir after confirming that it is safe for breastfeeding and told me I was in for oozing blisters that will eventually crust over and fall off- fun! As long as I have clothes between my baby and the blisters, so she doesn’t contact them directly, she should be ok.

In my other searches I found support for upping my doses of vitamin C, B vitamins, particularly B-12, as well as general immune support- probiotics, echinacea, and the like.  I also read about L-lysine, but decided against this as some things I read did not recommend it with breastfeeding. My Dr. also recommended applying baking soda solution with a wet washcloth to help dry them out faster.

So how did I get here? Well, I think it goes back to the sleep issue I mentioned.  My little one has been having a rough time of sleeping lately, the week this happened she’d been waking me up pretty much hourly at night for at least 6 nights.  I think my body just started to break down, and our came the shingles.  We have been working on suggestions from the book “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” to reduce night waking by helping her to fall asleep on her own by taking her off before she falls asleep nursing.  It wasn’t helping. I had attended a sleep workshop a few weeks prior to this where the coach suggested being consistent every time they woke up, so instead of the crib and our bed combo, we decided just to keep her in our bed (plus she was getting more and more sensitive to moving once she fell asleep, and she’s bigger and heavier and harder to get into the crib gracefully!). It was going ok, and I was able to fall asleep much faster each time she woke me up, but there were nights she was up a lot and I could tell some of that was from me or my husband moving and waking her. She also didn’t want to nap, but thankfully we’ve gotten her back to 2 per day, but they’re in our bed too, so I have to stay with her, meaning I have no time to do anything!

So where are we now? I think we are going to go back to moving her into the crib after she falls asleep (but waiting longer and scooping her up from the bed instead of keeping her in my arms) so we can all sleep a little longer ( I hope), and eventually work toward getting her to fall asleep without nursing.  Baby steps! I armed myself with several boxes of gauze and large bandaids to try to have an extra layer of cover between her and the bumps- there hasn’t been a lot of blistering yet and the pain hasn’t gotten much worse.  I’m working on not forgetting any of my 5 doses of meds a day plus the extra vitamins, and on getting some rest!  We had to cancel my birthday trip this weekend due to both the shingles (I was supposed to get a 3 hour massage!), and the weather in the Pacific Northwest, but ended up doing a little ‘staycation’ so I could get out of the house and try to get some more rest and ‘me’ time.  Hopefully I’ll get that 3 hour massage someday!

Otherwise, our baby girl is doing well!  She is a very happy girl, smiling, squealing, clapping, and laughing most of the time. She has taken to making little kiss sounds back and forth to us, which is pretty adorable.  She has 5 teeth, is crawling all over, standing and ‘cruising’, and working on standing without holding on to anything. She’s eating really well, finger foods and mashes where she feeds herself with the spoon after we load the food on. We’ve had some constipation issues with greek yogurt and I think too much sweet potato, and is definitely pooping much more often than she did with just breastfeeding! I’m experimenting with eating some gluten this weekend (which I’ve been not eating since before I was pregnant as well as breastfeeding), so we’ll see how that goes for her. Avoiding sugar is another suggestion for minimizing the shingles outbreak, which is too bad since we still have my birthday cake and our hotel gave us chocolate covered strawberries- which I love!

Ok, back to resting, thanks for reading! IMG_7912.JPG

 

From Co-sleeper to Crib!

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Just a quick note on something I thought would be much harder than it was, switching our baby girl from the co-sleeper to her crib.  She was getting close to outgrowing it, almost touching both ends if stretched out!  I loved having her right next to me and cuddling into bed between my sleeping babe and husband.  But the room was getting a little crowded with both her crib and co-sleeper in there for the last couple of weeks and I admit I was looking forward to being able to get in and out of bed without scooting way down to the end!

The decision to make the switch came kind of naturally this past Sunday when we were exhausted from a few nights of not the greatest sleep (back to waking up every 3 hours), so I wasn’t worried about setting her back from a good sleep streak, and she had soaked through her cloth diaper, cover, nightgown, love to dream swaddle, and the bedding!  So everything for the co-sleeper was in the wash and into the crib she went!  She actually had longer sleep stretches than the previous couple of nights and took a good morning nap in there too!  Overall I’d call it a success!  It is amazing how much she moves around in there as compared with the co-sleeper where she pretty much stayed put!  The little green square I put in to help absorb any diaper leaks is pretty useless in the crib and I’m no longer using it!

Our next project is to try to get her bedtime moved earlier in preparation for our first trip to the East Coast in one month.  We’ll be there for 3 weeks and I’ll be teaching full time for the first 2 so I’ll need all the sleep she/we can get!  I’m not sure of the best way to do this, and despite hoping to start at the beginning of this week we’ve actually managed to get her bed time the opposite direction from closer to 10 to closer to 11pm!  She has been sleepy around 8, usually taking a short nap while feeding, so I may just try to put her to bed then and hope for the best!  Any advice welcome!  She is a bit over 5 months now, just over 23 weeks.  Wish us luck!

Revenge of the Milk Blisters!

Argh… they just won’t go away!  I’ve had one on each nipple for about 2 months now.  I’ve tried everything I can find- soaking in epsom salts, vinegar solution with grapefruit seed extract, olive oil with grapefruit seed extract, opening with needle, having a Dr open and clear out and treat with silver nitrate… they just won’t go away!  I’ve had the Dr treat it twice, I had high hopes.  Unfortunately it was both painful and didn’t work, but it did seem to clear them out better than I could do.  I went back the second time because they seemed smaller after the first and I hoped this would finish them off.  Unfortunately it seems I have angered the beast- at least on the left side side.  It is excruciatingly painful to nurse her or for anything to touch that side.  I’ve tried resting it and pumping, icing and it’s just really painful still.  I’m just hoping it will go back to the on and off pain of before that was never this intense.

1 year post transfer

I’m a couple of days late, it was April 3, 2015.  I was 31 when I married my amazing husband, 32 when we started trying to have a baby, 34 when I did IVF (and several IUIs), 35 when I got pregnant, and 36 when I gave birth to our baby girl.  It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the day my baby girl came back into my body as one of the two tiny blastocysts.  I am so full of love for her, and as much as I wanted twins I really don’t know how we would have managed!  I will always be a little sad that we lost the other blastocyst and with it probably our only chance for another child.  It will be time soon to start making some decisions about things outgrown… I’d love to have them in the off chance we got pregnant again, but since it seems so unlikely I don’t know if we can justify keeping things since we really have no space.  Especially the bigger things like the swing that she is peacefully resting in at the moment.

I still have some challenges with the milk blisters (hopefully a Dr I’m seeing tomorrow will help get rid of them once and for all) but as she’s almost 4 months old at this point I just want to make it through with breastfeeding as long as I can and she wants to… only a little over 2 more months of exclusive breastfeeding anyway, I feel like it will go by pretty fast.

It has been quite a year, definitely one of the best of my life.  Pregnancy was such a wonderful experience, I do miss it.  And meeting our daughter and watching her grow has been incredible.  She is the love of our lives and I feel like the luckiest person in the world when I look at her and see those little smiles and hear those squeals of delight!  I don’t know where the future will take us but right now, snuggles with her make everything ok even if the house is a mess and I have a million other things I ‘should’ be doing.  I’m sure everyone feels like this but I feel like she is such a wonderful baby, I know the years will bring more challenges and I hope we will weather them somewhat gracefully!  I’m not sure how much more I’ll be blogging, perhaps a few more milestones, but this blog was really focused on helping me find my way through the sea of infertility to keep from drowning and while it’s a diagnosis we’ll never escape, I think our days of trying to battle it are in the past.

We caught our wave and will try to do our best to live in the moment and enjoy riding it.  Thanks for tuning in, for your messages of support, and for answering my questions, I’m sure I’ll still be around here and there. ❤

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Crazy mom moment…

So I jumped in the shower on Saturday while my baby girl was napping away and my husband was getting some work done and when I got out of the shower and realized she was still sleeping I grabbed my hair scissors to trim my bangs/fringe- I’d been wanting to do it for weeks… so I trim away, then I get to where I’d normally stop and think to myself that I should keep cutting because I don’t want them in my eyes again in a week!  Then I decide, really all of my hair needs a trim and I end up giving myself a full haircut in the bathroom trash can!  Not usually how I roll!  I did have my husband cut across the back and I did my best to put in some long layers!  So now I have some pretty short bangs and definitely not my best haircut… but probably not my worst either!  I would have kept cutting if she slept longer!  Oh well, maybe I’ll get another chance one of these days 😉