Friday, September 3, 2010

Updates and Q&A

This week's OB visit was a bit more eventful than usual. Let me start by saying that everything is fine with baby and me! Things are still moving along very well. It was my 36-week visit, and week 37 is just around the corner.

I also wanted to take a minute to address a few questions that you've asked in the comments on the last couple of posts. I'll cover those in just a minute, but first here's how the appointment went:

I knew going into the visit that it was the week for my group B strep test and that the doctor would also begin checking my cervix this week. First, the nurse did the routine checks of my urine (still clear and free of protein), blood pressure (still nice and low at 122/60), and weight (+2 lbs). Dr R came in and we chatted about how close we are to the big event. I told her I was doing fine besides the lack of sleep and general third-trimester aches and pains!

Next, she measured my belly. Now, every other time that I've been to the OB, this measurement has been "right on target" with where it should be. This time, though, she commented about how the baby's size had really increased. This was not a surprise to me; I've noticed that in the last two weeks it suddenly looks like I'm (unsuccessfully) trying to hide a watermelon under my shirt. The doctor mentioned that we will have an ultrasound at our visit next week so we can check her size. We are excited about getting a peek at our girl again! That hasn't happened since week 22, so it will be really great to see her again at this stage.

During the exam the doctor found that my cervix is still pretty firm and is still closed, and the baby seems to be in a head-down position. After we talked about the apparent spike in her size, she asked me if the baby had been active that day. I explained that she had moved around for most of the night before, but on the day of the visit she had so far been pretty calm. I'd felt her move a little bit that morning but not too much since then (my appointment was late in the afternoon). She said we'd do a quick non-stress test just to be sure that everything was fine.

Surprisingly, I really wasn't terrified; I was just eager for some reassurance. Pretty soon I actually enjoyed being hooked up to the monitor and listening to Lily's heartbeat. (We do still have the doppler at home but we've never used it for that chunk of time before!) The great thing was that it didn't take very long for me to identify some activity from the baby about 6 different times. We could hear her heart rate increasing when this would happen, which is normal. It was also interesting to see the monitor tracking my contractions. I had at least half a dozen of them while I was hooked up, but they were not incredibly strong and not at all regular. The doctor said there were probably so many because she had just stirred things up by checking my cervix during the exam.

(As a side note: One of the nurses who was checking in on us while I was on the monitor was looking at my info, I guess to see if this was our first baby. She declared out loud that yes, this was our first "real baby." Because of my concern for Lily at the time, I resisted the urge to explain to her that ALL of the babies I've carried are REAL. They certainly weren't fake or imaginary!!!)

So, all of that is just to say that Lily is doing fine! Our "little" girl may not be very little anymore, but we will check on that when I go back Thursday of next week. The doctor hinted that there certainly is a possibility, though, that we may end up moving the C-section to an earlier date. She may arrive a bit sooner than we expected, folks!

Now for the Q&A part:
Jennie is new to my blog and recently asked if we conceived Lily on our own. I haven't talked about this in a while and thought now might be a good time to revisit it and give a brief explanation. I feel like it's misleading to answer either a simple yes or no to this question! What happened was that we did our first-ever timed cycle with fertility drugs in early December of last year. All six of our previous pregnancies were achieved on our own. Although we were under the care of doctors for the last four, we had not needed or used any methods of ART. Getting pregnant had not been our problem up until the three years after our last miscarriage in 2007. My cycles had become irregular and I had started missing periods altogether, so we decided on the new approach to guarantee ovulation. So in late November of 2009 I took a round of Clomid, had the follicle ultrasound and trigger shot, and we had our first IUI in December, which resulted in a negative.

We decided to try again with the very next cycle, except my doctor wanted to try Femara this time instead of Clomid. I started taking it the last week of December and we returned home from our holiday travels for the follicle scan. We had a great looking 29 mm follicle that seemed to be our best chance, so we had the Ovidrel (trigger shot) and were planning to return for our second IUI on January 2. Soon after that, we learned that there would be no doctor available on that day due to the holiday schedule, and our IUI was canceled. We were crushed! We felt like we had the perfect set-up and it was now going to be wasted just because it was the day after New Year's. To top it off, we were spending the week away from home and didn't have a whole lot of confidence in our opportunities to try on our own for a pregnancy. I remember how devastated and angry I felt about the whole thing, but a few weeks later I was reminded that the Lord doesn't need our planning or timing to be right for Him to take action! We discovered on January 20 that we had indeed gotten pregnant "on our own."

I hesitate to say it was completely on our own because we were doing a timed cycle with the help of Femara and Ovidrel, but Lily was technically conceived the old-fashioned way. Thanks for the question, Jennie, and thank you for reading the blog and offering your support. I'm sorry to hear of your own struggle with infertility and will be praying that you will find answers soon.

The second question was asked by both Birdie and Kathryn on my last post. They wondered why we are having Lily via a scheduled C-section. The reason we made this decision along with our doctor a few months back is because of the surgery I had on my uterus back in 2005 to remove a septum. Because the surgery was performed five years ago by a different doctor (and not even our current specialist), the OB had some concerns about the possibility of a rupture of the uterus if I went through regular labor. It's not that she was convinced that it would happen simply because I'd had a septum removed; it's more because there is really no way for her to know how thin the area might be or if the strength of my uterus was in any way compromised because of that surgery. This isn't something they can go back and look at via ultrasound, so we just decided that the safest way to go for both Lily and me was to do a scheduled C-section. After talking it over with our doctor on a few occasions, my husband and I were both completely at peace with and confident about this decision. We totally trust that this OB has our best interests in mind and wouldn't suggest major surgery unless she found it to be necessary or the safest plan for our specific situation.

So, as it stands now, we are scheduled for a C-section at noon on Tuesday, September 21. I may have new information next week after our next appointment and ultrasound to check the baby's size. If I do go into labor before our scheduled time, we will still have a C-section.

Thanks for the questions, guys! I wanted to address them in a post since I'm never sure if people will get my responses in the comments. I appreciate that you continue to follow my story on this blog. Thanks so much for your continued support and prayers as we get ready to bring this baby home in the next few weeks!


Sharon said...

I'm so glad that all is going well Stacey! Roll on the 21st!

Charisa said...

Oh man! So excited! Come on Sept 21st!!! I'm getting misty eyed at the thought!!!

Hope in Virginia said...

Glad to hear that baby Lily is growing - that's a good thing. If you recall, I had to do twice-a-week nonstress tests starting at 33 weeks all the way until we delivered right before week 40. I did take comfort in hearing that little heart beat and seeing the activity on a screen. I had gotten pretty obsessed with doing kick counts and would get so worried if there didn't seem to be enough activity. Sounds like you took it all in stride. Good for you!

Jenn said...

I was nothing but goosebumps through this whole post!

Birdie said...

Thanks so much for answer my question!! And, if your c-section happens on the 21st, that's the day before my mom's birthday. So it will be easy for me to remember! :)

Katie said...

Whew! SO glad she is okay. Will was also a larger baby and we had a non-stress test at about the same gestation to make sure all was okay. . . which it totally was, but it was nice to have the confirmation.

The 21st is a lovely birthday, my dad's! But sounds like she might come sooner. This is getting SO exciting!

Jo said...

So glad everything is coming along nicely with little Lily and of course you! Sorry to hear about that nurse's insensitive comment. It's amazing how ignorant some people are - especially for someone who works in the medical profession - she should have none better. I am so excited to hear you found out on Jan 20 that you were having Lily. Thats my bday! xoxoxoxo

twondra said...

Soooo glad things are going well! So happy for you. Love the maternity pics too. You're beautiful!

jennie said...

Thanks stacey for anserwing my question. I am so glad to hear everything is going well! I can't believe that nurse and her comment! Ugh! Every baby is real wether or not they came to term. Praying that everything continues to go well for you :)

I did a cycle of femara earlier this year and my follicles only got to 11! We canceled the ovidrel and the rest of the cycle and are preparing to do a round of injectibles-follistum and menopur. It will be my first cycle of injectibles. My problem is that i do not ovulate and when i do it is not enough to cause conception. Thank you for your prayers! :)

Shannon said...

Wow, Sept 21st is just around the corner! I can't wait to read about you meeting your little girl, at long last!

Nikki S. said...

Stacey & Chuck,

I'm so thrilled for both of you and can't wait to hear news of Lily's arrival. The last few weeks of pregnancy seem to both fly by and crawl and I remember that feeling all too well!

Very, very soon you will know the joy of rocking Lily in the middle of the night -- the sweetest feeling in the world as she nuzzles her fuzzy head under your chin -- and, so, my only advice on this adventure you're about to embark upon is to love and savor every, single moment. I have no problem believing that you will do just that!

Katy came into our room the other night, upset about a dream she had, and very briefly, my arms ached to hold her and rock her again. Alas! She is all elbows and knees and pokey parts now!

So....buckle up and enjoy the ride! It'll be the scariest and best of your life!

Indy said...

I think about you often and want you to know that I am praying for your labor/delivery. I know you will do great and Lily will be a healthy and happy baby girl. =)

Nity said...

I'm glad to hear everything is going well!! I cannot wait to see pictures of baby Lily. My eyes get misty-eyed everytime I think of you, Chuck and baby Lily.


Sunny said...

Can you believe that her arrival day is almost here?!? YOU ARE GOING TO MEET YOUR CHILD THIS MONTH!!!!!!! eeeeeeek! So exciting. ;0)

Journeymark Cards & Gifts said...

Oh my goodness, only 2 weeks away for sweet Lily to arrive, and possibly sooner.

Glad to hear everything is okay with her. The beauty is that you felt God's presence and remained calm, as if God was letting you know everything is fine with her.

Looking forward to hearing how the appointment goes on Thursday. Love you and continuing to pray!