Thursday, April 30, 2009

Boring OB Visit- finally:-)

Yes, I was in and out of the OB visit today in 10 minutes. Fetal heartbeat strong at 156 bpm.

This pregnancy is different this time around. Well, I'm different, I guess. Hearing the heartbeat was a relief instead of an expectation. I know now I was very lucky to have had a pregnancy in the past where I did not worry about miscarriage or other problems. When we saw the two pink lines for the first time, we called all our family and let them know. This time? We planned on telling friends/ family via birth announcement in the fall;-)

I hope that as the pregnancy progresses, I can get genuinely excited about it and that the fears will eventually subside. I am beginning to learn that no matter the outcome of an infertile woman's journey, infertility will always be a part of her story.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Food Lessons

I think I've mentioned on this blog that I love The Biggest Loser. I love seeing the participants finally 'get' it and start to change their lives and perspectives. Dan and I usually watch the show with a bowl of popcorn or some sort of snack which kinda defeats the purpose of educating the general population about healthier living, but oh well. I used to have a 24Hr Fitness membership (they sponsor the show), and I swear that Wednesday mornings were the busiest mornings of the whole week. I guess others felt motivated by Bob and Jillian as well;-)

One major concept I like about the show is the teaching of making better choices concerning food. For example, ground chicken is not as healthy as ground turkey breast because the manufactures of ground chicken include ground skin to make their product juicier. Yuck.

The other concept I like to see is that the trainers try and teach the participants that they actually have to eat substantial meals to lose weight. Some contestents think that less calories equal more weight loss but in turn, their bodies "freeze" due to lack of 'food fuel' and sometimes the contestents actually gain weight in the week instead of losing, despite hours of exercise.

On last week's episode, Bob (the trainer) made the contestents video-tape their meal prepration so he could see what they were (or weren't) eating. Wow. I had no idea the contestents were eating so little- and neither did Bob, since he yelled at them for basically starving themselves. Ah- vindication. It was great to hear Bob say that sharing 1/3 of a yam between three adults wasn't a portion- it was starving the body. Mmm. I love fresh, baked yams, and more is better;-) He also emphasized the need of our body for protein and healthy fats such as olive oil.

As summer approaches, I'm looking forward to all the fresh fruits available and I hope that maybe a little of what Bob has taught me through the TV screen will stick. It's okay to eat- just lots of the right stuff.

PS- yes, there is Ben & Jerry's in my freezer. There usually is!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

13 weeks

I'm now in the second trimester! Yeah! For someone who hasn't seen a fetal heartbeat in a few years, this is a true milestone.

My OB personally called today to see how we are doing. Wonderful doctor. I'll see him next Wednesday for a routine visit.

Today I also did some baking, for the first time in a long time. It was a good day.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday at Stanford

I went back to Stanford today for the NT scan (ultrasound). The perinatologist said the baby looks healthy (per their measurements for length, head, neck, etc.). Wonderful! Please pray that my body remains strong to carry this little one to term.

And as a side note, to those of us who do have healthy children, remember to thank God for their health on a daily basis. I walked by the children's cancer ward at the hospital today and seeing those little ones makes your heart cry. Life truly is so fragile.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Next Appt.

I called UCSF yesterday and they had already cancelled my appointment with Dr. Callen for today since I had been seen on Friday night. I e-mailed Callen and asked him if he'd weigh-in on our case but I'm not hopeful he'll do so. We are content with the care we were given on Friday.

On Sunday morning, my RE called (RE/fertility clinics are open 7 days/week due to the nature of things), and I was glad to have stayed home from church. Dan and Russell went but I needed the quietness and peace of my own home. A little praise music and a window full of sunshine does wonders for my soul.

Anyway, the RE asked a lot of questions about the Stanford visit and the UCSF visit. I filled her in since the reports were sent to my OB's clinic instead, since he ordered the exams. Our RE has been seeing us since September '08, and she has been very easy to work with- and very accessable. The RE was not thrilled with the 'alarmist' report from Stanford and was pleased that UCSF gave us a more hopeful prognosis. I was glad she called as well because I had a few of my own questions about the anatomy of the uterus (I've learnt more in the last two weeks about Biology than I did in high-school) and our case. She was more than informative and put my fears to rest. Bless her heart.

Our next exam/ultrasound is this Friday for the nuchal translucency test. Our OB encouraged us to have the appointment, but for our own sanity, we will not be reading the results. (He will, of course). The NT test gives you the fetus's chances of Down's Syndrome and other birth defects. We opted not to have this exam with Russell, as it is an elective test. We've had our nerves rattled enough and since this test does not even yield 100% results, we don't need that stress on our hearts and minds.

Again, thank-you for your continued prayers and love...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Weekend

With all the 'excitement' around here the last two weeks, Russell has been a champ despite the lack of attention and the numerous play-dates at friends' houses. On Saturday, he was allowed to open his Easter present from Grandma and Papa (my parents). Big yellow 18-wheeler? Big score! It even opens so he can put his smaller cars inside.

On Sunday morning, we presented Russell with his first Easter basket, complete with multi-colored grass. He got his first WordWorld DVD and a bag of Starburst jellybeans. Again- big score for him;-)

My memories of Easter as just as special. I'm sure my Easter basket is still crammed somewhere in my parents' house.

For a few years, we'd travel from Vancouver Island to the city of Vancouver to attend a weekend Easter church conference.

We would stay at the family cottage in Point Roberts and drive into the city- maybe an hour by the time we got there. We'd dress up in our church finery (hat and Bible included) and pile into the van. At some point in the morning, we were given our Easter basket which contained chocolate and candy. I have no idea how long the conference was on the Saturday morning and afternoon, but as children, it seemed to last hours. We'd munch on our Easter stash to pass the time.

I remember there was always one family that would attend and they would sit right up front- which meant they were the first in the lunch line at the cafeteria. Of course, we were closer to the back, and by the time we were in the lunch line, we had to wait (and wait...) for the line to move while my parents reconnected with old friends and extended family members.

After lunch, my dad and I would walk across the street to the cemetery. As a child, I didn't think this was morbid, I thought it was special. The cemetery was quiet and it was one-on-one time I could spend with my dad. A few times, I remember taking a daffodil wrapped up in wet papertowel and plastic wrap to lay on my great-aunt's tombstone. She had been my Grandma's only sister. I also remember liking the Chinese section of the cemetery and the strange symbols etched on their stones.

Dan wants to ensure we start family traditions since he doesn't remember much tradition in his family. Although candy and chocolate are only the superficial side of Easter, I think what it does do is instill anticipation of a special holiday and memories of youth- a sweet time that is so limited in this world.

"This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things..."
Lk. 24:46

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"All Things are Possible..."

"(We) cried out to God for help; (we) cried out to God to hear us. When (we) were in distress, (we) sought the Lord; at night we stretched out untiring hands and our souls refused to be comforted...

"Then I thought, 'To this I will appeal; the years of the right hand of the Most High.' I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mightly deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples."

Ps. 77: 1, 13-14

After a day and a half of making phone calls and getting nowhere due to the insurance company, UCSF called us in a dither insisting that we drive up to the City immediately for an exam. It was 4:30pm on a Friday- and a holiday weekend. Could we be there by 5pm? I told the doctor that the soonest we'd be in her office was at least an hour since we had to find childcare and drive the 30+ miles. She said she'd keep the ultrasonographer in the hospital.

We reached UCSF at 5:45pm and had our exam (3D ultrasound- very cool!). The doctor on staff was a resident but he assured us he had consulted with the department head, Ruth Goldstein, as she had access to my ultrasound films on her computer at home. He said the pregnancy was a normal pregnancy and not a cornual pregnancy. The uterine wall was thin but he said there was no reason the pregnancy shouldn't progress in good health.

We have another doctor's consult scheduled on Tuesday as well at UCSF with the doctor that wrote the book on ultrasonography, Peter Callen. I'll find out on Monday if we should keep that appointment or not, or if Callen could just weigh in on our case by looking at our pictures.

The last two weeks especially have been emotionally and physically draining. We've heard and read the worst. We've hoped against hope when all looked dire. We began to mourn a child we'd never meet until Heaven. Now, we have reason to put all this behind us and embrace this pregnancy and anticipate a baby. We've been stung too often in the past to be naively pregnant but as the days pass and time erases the rawness of the last two weeks, I know we'll recover and begin to prep Russell for shared parent time, and the arrival of a new baby.

Please, for the prayer warriors that have banged on Heaven's gates, continue to lift us up. My body needs to remain strong to carry this child. Pray for health and strength for this child as well. Life is so fragile and it is only more so in utero.

It is difficult to say so at this time, but we truly hope that these years of infertility will be used for God's glory. If we could hug each of you that have prayed for us, we would:-)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Maybe there are miracles?

So, we're still up in the air, both emotionally speaking and in the decision-making process. We saw two specialists today and they contradicted each other's findings.

Doctor A) Concluded that the pregnancy was indeed a 'cornual pregnancy' that would indeed rupture my uterus within a few days. We left the ultrasound room very shaken but determined to move ahead with the recommended surgery. He had called my OB and said my OB wanted to talk with us.

We went to see my OB and he admitted that with the odds of a cornual pregnancy being 1 in 2500 he had not seen one (he's delivered probably a few thousand babies... no exaggeration) and wanted us to see another specialist for another opinion. The surgery recommended would not be a simple D&C but a more invasive, risky procedure that would have to be preformed by an oncological surgeon.

So, off we went to see Doctor B. She did an ultrasound and said that she just wasn't convinced that the pregnancy was cornual, and although the myometrium was thin, the pregnancy was inside my uterus and not on the fallopian tube border, therefore no chance of uterine rupture.

This day has been a roller coaster for us, needless to say. We want to believe Doctor B. 150% but we still are realistic of the risks and my OB will refer us to two different specialists at Stanford and possibly UCSF before coming to any firm conclusion.

Thank-you for your prayers. We know that we are far from a confidently, healthy pregnancy, and we need the discernment of the doctors to give us a clear, affirmative directive. Uterine rupture is risky in certain terms but the surgery is not a simple procedure.

Monday, April 06, 2009


I didn't know what else to call this post, so I just wrote 'update.' To say that this is an announcement is an overstatement at this point. We are pregnant again. As of today, I'm 10w5d. Fetal heartbeat strong at 160 bpm. I take daily doses of Lovenox and Endometrin.

The crappy news? (Of course there is!) The pregnancy has situated itself in the upper right hand corner of my uterus near the fallopian tube. The muscle is thin (3mm) in that area (this is natural) and as the baby grows, it will stretch the muscle out. If I used expletives, there would be one here ___________.

My OB has referred us to a high-risk OB at Stanford in addition to seeing a perinatologist on the 17th.

Unofficially, there are three options. We'll wait for our high-risk consult before deciding...

1) Wait it out and hope that nothing happens- stats on this aren't probable.
2) Risk a high chance that my uterus will tear about the 17-20 week gestational mark. Fatal for baby and dicey for me.
3) Terminate the pregnancy before I lose my uterus and any hope of having another baby.

If you'd like to know how I feel, attach a ticking timebomb to your belly and see how it feels. I kinda angry right now. And really scared.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Retreat Weekend in Asilomar

No, not snow. This sand is finer and softer than that in Hawai'i (or so I'm told!).

The wind was cold and the surf rugged but always beautiful...

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sorry for the Silence...

Sorry for the silence on the blog. Sometimes I have ideas about postings, but when it comes to typing, my fingers are still and somehow, what I wanted to write no longer seems important.

I went to a ladies' retreat this past weekend, just south of Monterey, CA. I'll post pix soon. The speaker spoke on the book of Hosea in the Bible. She illustrated how as Hosea pursued and redeemed his prostitute wife, Gomer, God also pursues us- even though we follow and distract ourselves with other gods. God yearns for us to come to Him and rest in His love. This has been a difficult lesson for me to learn.

Over the past two years of our recurrent pregnancy losses, I have often felt abondoned by God- why would He allow life that He created to fail in its' initial stages? Then, as the tears come and my body begins to heal itself once again, I have felt the love of God. It does not come in a superficial way. It comes as love through friends' hugs and tears. It comes in phone calls and words of comfort. God's love comes as a whisper when I feel totally alone and yet, when I count the friends that have promised to 'hold up our arms in prayer' (as Aaron did for Moses), I know God loves me. He has pursued me throughout this pain and although I still don't know the reason for our losses, I know that He is more real to me than He was two years ago. I know He has seen our tears and as a parent weeps over a child, He has wept with us.

The conference speaker asked us what we thought the first thing would be when we reached Heaven. She hoped Jesus would call us to himself, and he could cup our face in his hands, and say, "Do you know how much I love you?" Oh, how I hope she is right!