Friday, January 28, 2011

No More Booty Calls

I'm finally getting around to posting about last Thursday's appointment, which went well.  I had a quick ultrasound and saw the baby, still alive and kicking at 12 weeks.  With the second trimester looming, even seeing the baby on ultrasound only eases my anxiety momentarily.  Hopefully it will help that I now have a working doppler in my possession.

Since mid-November I have been injecting myself in the rear nightly with a rather lengthy needle.  Because of my bad memory, I have relied on my cell phone alarm to remind me of when to do this.  The past few weeks have been spent weaning off the progesterone and I am now completely done with it.  The alarm on my cell phone has been turned off - there will be no more booty calls!

Yes, these are all the huge needles I've used to fill my fanny with fat.  I've gone through eleven vials of progesterone in oil.  I know just what you're thinking - "Annie, how many Snickers bars is that?"  The answer is NINE!!  And believe me, it shows.  Good thing Q likes big butts. 

Here's some more math fun:  All those 1 1/2 inch needles put end to end would add would add up to 111 inches.  That's 9.25 feet of needle in my backside.  For my friends who use metric, that's 2.8 meters.  I'm not sure which is more shocking - the 9+ feet of needles or that I actually calculated it.  This is what happens when someone who's taken lots of accounting classes spends too much time with syringes.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Doppler Dud

What's wrong with this picture?

a) Minnesota weather is so rough that Annie started to grow hair on her tummy just to stay warm!
b) Annie somehow miraculously appears 9 months pregnant at only 11 wks!
c) The Pocket Fetal Doppler is crap and will give you a number on anything and even in midair!!

If you chose C you are correct.  We just bought the doppler off Ebay. Warning - Chinese knockoffs are abundant! When I lived in Taiwan and China, I saw plenty of folks pulling gadgets apart so they could make a knockoff version. Luckily, Annie found a friend who was selling an extra. So until it arrives, Annie is in hyper-anxiety hyper-drive!!!! 

We did get some good news - Annie won the drug battle. She was able to convince the mail-order pharmacy to take the drugs back since they were exposed to sub-zero temps during shipment. The package was supposed to be picked up by UPS today, but it is still sitting out on the porch. Those drugs are definitely frozen now, in spite of  the "special packaging!" 

Annie has just informed me that my sexual privileges have yet again been revoked because it's just too stressful for her. I am off to bed alone!!!!!!! :(  The leopard print was good while it lasted.  Dry spell ahead!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

The baby is still alive and kicking.  Q was not able to come to today's appointment and I went alone rather than change it to another day.  It was extremely nerve-wracking in those first few moments after the ultrasound began.  This time, it was just a small bedside ultrasound machine, so the screen was very small and the picture was poor.  I saw the baby but not any movement at first.  Then the nurse pointed out the heartbeat and my own heart started beating again!  I was able to see some kicking as well.  It was very quick and not nearly as satisfying as last week's ultrasound, but I'm thankful to have some reassurance. 

This past week was good and went by fairly quickly.  The only issue has been acquiring a fresh supply of Lovenox.  For some reason, it just never works out smoothly.  Weeks ago my new insurer told me that my only option is to get it through a mail-order pharmacy.  I told them the sad tale of how last month's Lovenox shipment from a different pharmacy was exposed to extreme cold and how $1000 worth of drugs were wasted.  The new pharmacy assured me that they use special packaging to protect the medication, which is supposed to stay at room temperature.  "Yes, but I live in Minnesota," I said.  "It's COLD here."  No problem, they said, we have special packaging:

Special Packaging = Not Good Enough

Even if they used Extra-Special Packaging =
STILL Not Good Enough for January in Minnesota

You've no doubt guessed how this turned out.  The package arrived - a 90 day supply ($3,000!) - and although it was delivered directly to me instead of being left on the doorstep, I noticed that the package was cold.  VERY cold.  I asked the UPS guy if the truck was temperature controlled at all.  No.  It was subzero outside and the package had been in the truck for hours.  Who knows what conditions it was transported in before that.  The meds were not frozen, but they were way below room temperature.

I called around to see if this was OK.  Pharmacy said:  "YES, this drug is stable between 29 degrees and 104 degrees."  Hmmm, then why does it say store at 68-77 degrees on the box?  Called the manufacturer: "Sorry, we can't guarantee that it is fine."  And remember that last month's pharmacy also said having it at cold temps is not fine.  After such a long hard fight to even get pregnant, I am not prepared to accept "The drugs should be fine" as an answer, especially when only the pharmacy that stands to lose money here is saying that it's OK. 

For now, my insurer allowed me to get a 14-day supply at a retail pharmacy while I duke it out with the mail-order folks.  My insurer also told me that I DON'T have to get this through mail-order at all and that the three people who told me this previously are all wrong.  I've mentioned before that I hate my new insurer, but it bears repeating.  I HATE THEM!!  I've spent hours on the phone and it's not over yet, but I do realize how lucky I am to be dealing with this instead of continued infertility.  This I can handle.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Graduate

Baby (still haven't come up with a good fetal name) has officially graduated to the perinatology clinic!  Q and I spent three hours there on Thursday.  First, the ultrasound.  At 10w0d, Baby is measuring 10w3d and moving around a lot!  We could even see the tiny fingers and toes.  I've already had more ultrasounds with this baby than I ever had with any other pregnancy.  Regrettably, I never got to see Jeremiah or Miles alive even on ultrasound.  We first saw David on ultrasound at 20 weeks, then a few more times after that because he was not growing well.  Tania we peeked at only once at 38 weeks to make sure she'd turned head down.  So it's quite amazing and new for me to be able to see this one grow week by week!

We also met with the genetic counselor and decided that genetic testing has no real benefit in our case.  Then we talked with the OB.  To Q's delight, I am no longer on "pelvic rest" and that V.S. leopard print finally saw some action.
The doctor asked how often I would like to come in to be checked - every week, every other week, once a month?  Once a week, please!  So I have appointments there each Thursday.  Although I get VERY anxious before each ultrasound, it's nice to know I can check up on Baby each week.

I'm thinking about getting a Doppler to use at home, too.   Of course there are benefits and risks to weigh.  No doubt the second trimester will be a time of terror for me and I'd like to be able to get reassurance at home anytime I need it.  The big risk - the ultimate nightmare - would be finding out myself, alone at home, that there's no heartbeat.  Or sometimes getting false alarms because I don't know what I'm doing, but the doctor said they'll show me how to use it properly if I bring it to the clinic.   I'm leaning towards getting one - and soon!

Friday, January 7, 2011

All is Well

Back from the ultrasound.  Surprisingly, I was not too nervous going in since I've been feeling better (less abdominal drama) and worse (more sick).  Last night I had a couple of animal cookies at bedtime and shortly thereafter literally tossed my cookies.  It's the first time I've thrown up during this pregnancy.  I ask you, what sort of nut job actually enjoys throwing up?  Me, that's who.  I took it as a good sign.  And it was.

The baby is looking great and measuring right on - 9w1d.  It even waved to us!  We also got to see it in 3D and take a look at the developing cord. I'm praying very specifically that it develops normally!

Speaking of "it" - it needs some sort of name but I haven't been able to come up with anything yet.  I'm working on it and let me know if you have any suggestions! 

So we're on for next Thursday's appointment at the high-risk clinic.  We'll see if the peace of mind I have right now will last for six whole days.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

High Anxiety

Today is the four year anniversary of Jeremiah being born still.  No doubt this is contributing to a rather bad patch of anxiety lately.  Some of my symptoms have lessened a bit (boobs not as sore, nausea not quite as bad) and that always triggers a freak-out. Also, even though I am absolutely thrilled to be pregnant, my guts are hating it.  Obviously, any organ in the pelvic area that engages in violent behaviour also triggers a freak-out, so I am a wreck. Never mind that this has happened before and everything has been fine.  Never mind that it's logical for symptoms to wane now that my progesterone/estradiol dosages have been reduced.  I've set up an ultrasound appointment at the fertility clinic for Friday because I just can't take this anymore. Hopefully it will put my mind at ease so I can be a more pleasant person over the weekend.

Sadly I always think in terms of if with this pregnancy, but if the little one is still alive and well then my first appointment at the high-risk clinic is next week on Thursday.  First an ultrasound, then meeting with the genetic counselor (which I predict will be utterly pointless), and then we'll meet with the OB. 

Today a lady from my insurance company called trying to get me enrolled in their Healthy Pregnancy program:

Her: "Congratulations!  We received information that you're expecting!" 
Me: "No, I do not think that's the word I would use." (I really hate that word.)
Her: (slightly flustered) "Oh, but you're pregnant right?"
Me; "Well, yes, if nothing's gone wrong since last week."

She then proceeded to explain the benefits of the program: There's a small financial incentive for participating.  I would receive a sappy info packet full of information I've known for years and pictures of happy normal pregnant women who are clearly not at all worried that their babies will die.  I would get phone calls from cheerful nurses at various points along the way to help me with any concerns.  I'm pretty sure my concerns and questions will be above their pay grade. Thanks, but no thanks.

I'm just trying to make it one day at a time, but some days seem so loooooong!!  For now my coping strategy involves procrastination.  I will take it easy instead of doing housework, balancing the checkbook, and all other tasks that need doing:

Somehow, I have to keep my tenuous grip on sanity for one more day, and then hopefully I'll get some good news to see me through the next week.  Hey, I'm feeling pretty ill all of a sudden!  Woohoo!!  I'm off to get a snack and will report back on Friday.  In the meantime, say hi and tell me a bit about yourself if you haven't before.  It's International Blog Delurking Week!