Sunday, January 07, 2007

Let's get everyone up to speed (reproductively speaking)

A timeline might help, perhaps...

August 8, 2003 - went off birth control pills
August 31, 2003 - took first of many negative pregnancy tests
Mid-October 2003 - got first post-pill period
Late October 2003 - scheduled appointment with gynecologist to figure out why I get no periods and my temperature charts look like they were made by a random number generator
January 2004 - got second period, so I rescheduled my appointment with gyn
Late Jan '04 - had appointment and found out I needed to have bloodwork done on the 3rd day of my cycle (which had just passed and with my cycles that could be 3 months away until the next time)
Feb '04 - period #3 going on for almost 3 weeks. Called gyn to find out what wrong. Given drugs to stop period, thicken lining, and bring on a new period. Ten days later - get blood work done
early Mar '04 - find out I have PCOS and start treatment
Mar '04 - on CD5 (cycle day 5, 5th day after start of period) begin first round of fertility drugs. Take 25 mg clomiphene daily for CD5 - CD9. Go in for ultrasound and find out absolutely nothing happened. Take drugs to bring on a period.
Late Mar '04 - triple dosage to 75 mg clomiphene daily for 5 days (CD5-CD9). Go in for ultrasound and discover that some things have happened but not nearly enough.
April '04 - CD3-CD7 take 75 mg clomiphene. CD14 ultrasound shows not much, so they add progesterone to the mix.
May '04 - CD3-CD7 take 75 mg clomid, Ultrasound shows no uterine lining and small follicles so estradiol added to the mix, but nothing happens.
June & July '04 - CD3-CD7 75 mg clomid, CD8-CD13 estradiol, CD14 hCG trigger, CD21-28 progesterone (while on vacation with my in-laws and the progesterone needs to be kept in the 'fridge and they don't know we're trying and having trouble and keep making comments about when are you going to have a baby and I threaten death to my husband unless he tells them so the pain can stop)
Aug. '04 - This is my last chance before I have to undergo serious injections of drugs and see specialists for closer monitoring. CD3-CD7 75 mg clomid, CD13-CD15 triple dose of estradiol, CD16 trigger shot (to make the follicles rupture and release their eggs), CD21 and on progesterone suppositories. I got pregnant, but I didn't know it. We were scheduled to go on vacation with my dad and I started spotting around CD25, so I assumed another failure and another month of drugs, etc. I got a hpt to confirm negative so I could call the office and make plans for the next phase. The hpt was positive. What the hell? Anyway, I called the office to let them know and schedule blood work.
The bloodwork confirmed that I was pregnant (but the levels were lowlowlowlow). My progesterone was very low as well (despite the cooter bullets I was taking daily). All signs were that something was amiss. It could be a misacarriage about to happen or an ectopic. They don't want me to go on vacation and want me to continue having blood drawn every other day until the levels drop or show good improvement. Then, I start bleeding.
Let's say there are levels of bleeding:
Staining (maybe a dot here or there on the TP)
Spotting (requires a mini-pad)
Bleeding (tampons or regular pads)
Heavy bleeding (tampon with an overnight pad as back-up)
Really bad bleeding (after childbirth or right before you decide to get a hysterectomy)
I had blood drawn and everything went up as it should and doubled and whatnot. So, the concern is still ectopic or threatened miscarriage. I went on vacation and had bloodwork done there (during a torrential downpour no less). The results continues to go up and I continues to spot. In fact, I spotted on and off for the next 10 weeks or so. I supplemented progesterone until the first week of the second trimester.
Second trimester went well. I felt good, not too big, not too tired, although if I didn't get dinner by 3 minutes before I got home from work I devolved into a crying mess (bad blood sugar issues, but repeated testing showed no gestational diabetes). Once I got to week 24 or 25, I felt somewhat better. My baby was on the cusp of viability. I certainly didn't want him born then, but there was some hope that if I couldn't keep him inside, something might be done.
The third trimester was OK, until around month 8. I got big. I started to pee myself. I got carpul tunnel and my hands kept going numb. I developoed icky purple stretch marks. Even my maternity clothes stopped fitting. My belly button stretched out grossly. It was quite uncomfortable but overall I was pretty happy since the end was near and viability was almost assured (over 90% chance of survival).
On May 5, 2005, I had my baby. I found childbirth in the hospital model to be traumatic. In fact, I think I mentioned I might have a little PTSD from it. I have rage over the helplessness I felt. In fact, I vow right now, I will never never ever ever do that again. I will hire a doula or bring a girlfriend to advocate on my behalf because my husband was too shocked by everything happening to be able to do it for me. In fact, he didn't know enough to know what was happening.

Long story short though, I had a healthy baby. I didn't see him for hours and hours after he was born though due to the surgery, hospital policy about keeping constant temperature, and then shift change. I'm still pissed that I didn't see my baby for 4 hours. I should have been nursing him, but I was not. I am very thankful my husband did not call our families to let them know the baby had been born though, because if they had come to the hospital and seen the baby before I did, I think I would be very very angry right now still. They are angry we didn't call right away but hey, wife with surgery, baby in distress being revived by a neonatologist. I think we were a little busy. It was a couple of days before I ever saw my baby's feet, hands, penis, etc. By the time I got him, he was swaddled and wearing clothes. It felt strange to me to go and unwrap him. I should have, but I didn't. If I ever do have another, I'm unwrapping my baby and sniffing its newborn head, etc.

I found breastfeeding very hard in the beginning. If I hadn't been warned that it was hard, I would have thought something was wrong (actually I did think something was wrong and had out latch evaluated repeatedly). I also found physical recovery very difficult. I had gone through hours of labor and pushing and then had major abdominal surgery and then had to care 24/7 for a new baby. It was draining. My husband was fabulous. For this reason, I will love him forever. My kid was pretty great too (oh, he's napping upstairs right now after I took him for a little car ride around the neighborhood).

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