12 weeks and good news :)

This will have to be short because I’m unbelievably exhausted. On top of my normal level of exhausted, I barely slept last night. Bed is sounding delicious right now.

But, I couldn’t go to bed without letting you guys know what happened today. As the title implies, it was good news :). First we met with the genetic counselor, which was surprisingly great. She sat and talked with us for over an hour, which seems extremely rare for a medical professional these days. She walked through our family histories of both infertility/miscarriage and other serious medical issues. The former list was quite long, particularly on G’s side, but the latter was almost non-existant. The best part of the appointment was that she approached it both from the perspective of potentially exploring our miscarriage problems, as well as ourĀ  potential risk of problems with this pregnancy. I didn’t expect the first part at all. Ultimately, she suggested that our histories imply that there certainly could be a hereditary (i.e. genetic) cause for our fertility problems, but none of it implies an elevated risk for problems with this pregnancy. In fact, she even offered to do some research to find out if there are any new, more advanced, genetic tests that we could do to investigate the miscarriages. Granted, I’ve done lots of research on this myself and haven’t found much, so I don’t know that this will lead anywhere, but it was really cool to have someone actually taking an interest in figuring things out for us for a change!

After talking for a long time, she suggested that we might be good candidates for the MaterniT21 blood test, instead of just doing the NT scan. She doesn’t think we’re at elevated risk because of anything in my history or anything that’s happened with this pregnancy, but given the total package she thought we would feel better knowing for certain (the NT scan only gives you odds). So, we drew blood today and we’ll get the results back in 4-10 days. Given that, we didn’t need to do the NT scan after all, but we certainly weren’t about to give up doing an ultrasound at all, so we just had a regular one without all the measurements.

The tech called us back, and told me to pull down my pants below my hip bones for my very first abdominal ultrasound. I warned her that my uterus is retroverted, and as I predicted, we had to switch to transvaginal halfway through because she couldn’t see anything well enough to take measurements. When she first started the scan there was a terrifying moment were I couldn’t see anything moving or flickering, and I was pretty sure it was over. Not realizing how much we were freaking out, she didn’t say anything right away, which only made matters worse. Eventually she said something along the lines of, ‘I can’t tell what the heart rate is yet’. And I immediately said ‘so there is one??’. Yes, yes, there was one, I was just used to seeing it on a transvaginal scan where things are a lot clearer. Then, another terrifying moment when she was measuring the heart rate, and the blurring lines showed up at the bottom of the screen (the grey paintbrush stroke like lines that they use to measure the rate). Again, this looks totally different on a transvaginal ultrasound (according to G it has something to do with the wave amplitude….?) and I couldn’t see any lines. I was positive it was showing a super duper slow rate, and that’s why I couldn’t see the lines. But, she ran the measurement, and it came out as 161! After that, I took a few deep breaths, and started to enjoy it all.

The baby was moving around like crazy, and kept curling up in a tiny ball. G said it looked just like our cats curled up on the couch. He/she kept kicking and waving tiny arms every which way. At the right angle, we could see all the bones of the forearm and fingers forming. In profile there was a tiny perfect little face. In fact, looking at the profile, I could immediately see that there wasn’t an accumulation of fluid in the neck at all, like you see in ‘abnormal’ NT scans. The purpose of the NT scan is measuring the nuchal translucency, or the thickness of the fluid in the neck area. The thicker the layer of fluid, the greater the chance of a problem. I asked the tech if she agreed that it looked like the measurement would have been really small if we were doing it, and she agreed that it looked great. And finally, she managed to get a crown-rump length measurement when the baby finally uncurled itself a little, and it was exactly what I expected. It measured 11w5d, 2 days behind, so exactly the same amount behind as every other scan. Given how consistent the growth has been, no one is too worried about the size at this point. Maybe I just ovulated a little later than I thought I did.

After the scan, we went to lunch and called our parents. Both of our moms cried. Then we went to the mall to do a little celebratory shopping. We decided a few weeks ago that if we had good news today we would go buy something for our baby. Since we don’t know the sex yet (but we will in 4-10 days!!!!!), we picked out the cutest little unisex outfit. I’ve been waiting to buy baby clothes (for myself rather than a gift) for years and years and years. Long before we started trying. This is the very first time I’ve ever felt like I had the right to be in a baby store buying things for myself. It was both weird and great. We’re feeling really great right now, and I think the high will last a little while longer before any anxiety starts to kick back in. So, we’re just going to try to relax and appreciate this as much as we possibly can while we can.

The eve of the Big Day

Tomorrow is the big day. Our NT scan. I’ve been unbelievably impatient over the past few weeks, and now suddenly I’m not sure I’m ready. I swing wildly back and forth between feeling like it’s Christmas eve and feeling like it’s the night before going to the gallows.

I’m surprisingly not freaking out though. I feel like I’ve been in some sort of protective bubble for most of this pregnancy. It’s not that I feel optimistic and so need not worry. Even when things were looking completely awful after ultrasounds 1 and 3, I was feeling mostly numb. I knew the emotions would kick in eventually, but they hadn’t had a chance to hit. I’m fully aware of all the negative possibilities, and how awful I will feel when they come true, but I can’t muster any true anxiety or fear. It’s like I’m covered in thick padding, and the emotions can’t touch me yet.

Get this, we rented a doppler last week, we couldn’t find the heartbeat, and I still didn’t freak out. I was a little ‘down’ the next day, but I never really got upset. I rationalized that it’s because I have a retroverted uterus, and lots of women have trouble finding the heartbeat at 11 weeks with a retroverted uterus. True, but I wouldn’t have expected ‘rational thought’ to play in to whether or not I would freak out when we couldn’t find a heartbeat. We haven’t tried again since then because A) I was worried that my lack of freaking out could only last so long and I didn’t want to push it, and B) I have this feeling of, let’s call it intuition (the other option is wishful thinking), that there is still a little heart beating in there. I have no real reason to trust this feeling, but I’m glad I have it for now.

But again, that doesn’t mean I’m optimistic. In fact, I’m the opposite. I fully and completely expect that tomorrows scan will show a problem. It would just make so much sense. Both because of the low heart rate a few weeks ago, and because it’s just plain my luck. Since the NT scan doesn’t definitively prove whether there are developmental problems, it just indicates a higher or lower risk, if they find something tomorrow it wouldn’t mean there is definitely a problem. But it would draw out this limbo we’re in, not knowing whether to really trust this pregnancy or not. My ‘intuition’ is telling me that this is what will happen. It almost feels like that’s what I deserve. Maybe deserve is the wrong word, but I don’t feel like I am capable or worthy of a better outcome than that. I haven’t really explored why I feel this way, but I think it has something to do with the fact that ‘recurrent miscarrier’ has become part of my identity. It’s just who I am, so of course I will be the one with the problem. Or I will be the one who has to spend more months hiding that I’m pregnant because I still don’t know whether its real, while other people are shouting it from the rooftops at 12 weeks.

I don’t mean to sound as if I’m complaining though. I really and truly do feel lucky to be having this opportunity at all. I don’t think I can get in to it too much yet, but I’m also already having a great deal of ‘survivor’s guilt’. I feel insanely guilty for the fact that I’m here, having this chance at success and the ultimate prize, while so many of you are suffering so much. It feels so completely unfair (and wrong, like a mistake) that I could potentially make it to the other side while people who have struggled longer, been through more, and probably even deserve it more, are still waiting with no end in sight. I will have to wait and write more about this later when I feel more confident about the fact that I actually will ‘survive’.

So I’m off to bed, to wake up tomorrow to find either presents under the Christmas tree, or a noose. I guess we’ll see. Finally though, I wanted to apologize for being a terrible blog-friend lately. I’ve been reading religiously, but I haven’t been commenting much for a few reasons. The first is I’ve had sporadic computer problems, and it’s hard to really say what I want to say typing on my phone. And secondly, I’ve been insanely exhausted. By the time I get home from work and make dinner, I barely have enough energy to keep my eyes open to watch tv for half an hour. I’ve been passing out by 9 most nights. I hope you all know that I’m thinking of you constantly, and still care deeply despite not saying so quite as often.