Monday, July 27, 2015


We had our last weekly appointment with Dr. Donesky.  You read that correctly. LAST.

Pico was sleepy today.  It's a different time of day than we usually go, and I could see the heart flickering, but it was very unsettling.  However, someone made me laugh and Pico went crazy.  He or she was also very shy.  We've had at least 6 opportunities to see our child's face, and we still have yet to see it.  One day...maybe...

Pico had his or her back completely turned.  I have a great picture of the back of my baby's head, neck shoulders and the rest of his or her back.  Pico measured a day ahead at 12.6 using crown to rump measurements, but measured 12.4 on a femur measurement... That averages to 12.5 so perfect. ;)  Heart rate was a beautiful 157 beats per minute.

So off we go. I'm to stop all my medications just like that.  Seriously, all of them.  I know what it must be to be addicted to drugs.  I'm bargaining with myself...'Just one last progesterone'll be okay.'  'Maybe just a half mL of progesterone in oil tonight'...and on and on...I go back to the fertility clinic on Thursday for a blood draw to check my hormone levels again.  I know we need to see what my body can or can't do, but wow, are the stakes high.  And I have all these pills and syringes...I might be the first person admitted to drug rehab for progesterone.  I'd be totally cool with that as long as I got to go to Malibu Promises...

I don't think Donesky is a bit worried. He told me I could have stopped last week. So I think the chances of something happening are low, but then again ovarian failure is a less than 1% possibility, and I managed to be on the wrong side of that.  I'm just a little freaked out.  The office wants me to come back when I "have a belly" and I'm all like 'how will I know if I can get that far because you're kicking me out?!'  I need a Van Wilder month!!!

I'm also starting to notice how uncomfortable I am when people talk about infertility.  It's like I got de-sisterized from my sorority of 5 years.  Even when I hear storylines on TV, it just makes me cringe.  I've really just noticed it in the last couple of weeks, which I guess is when the reality of this pregnancy started sinking in. So did the "survivor's guilt." I know that so far, I have this pregnancy, but 3 months ago, as I tearfully laid in bed awaiting bad news, I also remember how vivid the devastation of another negative pregnancy test could be.  I remember sobbing as the lab tech drew my blood and having to take a healthy moment to get myself back together before returning to my patients because as ready and braced as I thought I was, the pain of possible devastation is just overwhelming.  It's too close and easy to remember that pain, but I can't let it go because somehow I need to still be part of that infertile group that I identify with.  Yet I also have to give them space because I'm not the same anymore, either.

I didn't imagine myself feeling guilty until I actually had a breathing child in my arms, but I didn't know how attached you could be to something you don't even feel.  And in my case, something I'm not even related to, technically. But golly, do I love every single thing about my introverted little bean that's growing inside of me!  Would I be utterly devastated if something were to happen? You betcha! It's just still strange being "one of them" instead of infertile. Everything is different now. People offer you a level of respect because you're going to be a parent.  I've recently had a rash of "do you have kids?" to which I usually respond, 'not yet.'  But I caught myself telling a random patient who asked that I had one on the way.  So then she told me how having a baby was going to change my life forever. "It will never, ever be the same." 'What?  I can't just lay in bed all day and drink margaritas anymore?  Why didn't you tell me this 5 years and THOUSANDS of dollars ago?' I guess the bad advice and unnecessary wisdoms will never go away no matter the family building journey.

People talk to you differently.  And I've gone from being asked by random strangers what position I assume after sex to "what names are you thinking about?  Are you going to breastfeed? Do you want an epidural? Where are you going to register?'  I can appreciate it more and the questions are a lot happier than "have you tried elevating your hips?" but the pessimist inside me is still saying, let's just wait to see if you are still pregnant tomorrow...

I am very blessed to have what anyone else would call "an easy pregnancy".  I'm not nauseous, I'm not craving anything, I'm not really having aversions accept for maybe being sick of Progresso soup. I'm not showing either. So it is physically easy to deny that this is happening...except my breasts don't lie.  But on the other hand, it sure leaves a lot of doubt.  Like what if this isn't happening? What if my baby doesn't wake up one day? What if I'm not sick because the baby isn't doing well.  And the thought that my next ultrasound, the next time I see my baby, won't be for 6-8 weeks as the anatomy scan...You've got to be kidding me. That actually does make me nauseous.

So...@ 12.5 weeks I am the drugs*  Clarification-hormones
...down 2 lbs for a net gain of -11...and I eat everything...It's like I have a metabolism, or something.
...Craving...Not a darn thing.  I want to crave something...I guess my diet is just that healthy. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway...
...Averse to graduating from my fertility clinic. love with my Pico

Peace, Love, and Fertility Clinic Graduations,

Mary Katherine

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Yes, Virginia, There is a Pregnancy

This is going to sound really dumb so forgive me now.  I was up half the night scared stupid that somehow I actually wasn't pregnant. That somehow I was going to show up to my first prenatal exam and there would be no baby.  Somehow, what I had been seeing on the ultrasounds at Dr. Donesky's office would just not be there at my OB's office.

As I checked in, I asked about the "Established GYN visit".  I was going to be hugely embarassed if I just brought my husband in for my yearly exam.  The receptionist told me that she couldn't change it because I don't have a "confirmed pregnancy."

O-M-G, I knew it!  OK that's not really what I thought, but I was afraid that I forced my hubby to take a half day to end up watching me have my blood drawn.  That would be hugely embarassing. Once again, I texted my friend in conceiving after infertility and she was like "Don't stress over the wording." Well, she nailed it.  Everything was fine.

They started out with an US and Pico was just doing his or her squirm thing.  Our sonographer tried and tried...and tried to get Pico to give us some face time, but Pico would not participate. She would push on my belly and Pico would squirm into an even worse position.  I'm pretty sure this is the right child for us.

The differences between the offices were interesting. I'm so used to Dr. Donesky telling me everything as he sees it and hears it, and I couldn't even get the sonographer to tell me an exact heart rate.  I knew it was in the high 150s or low 160s because when you do it everyday for a living, you can pace it with the sound.  She did tell me the baby measured 12.2 days, so once again, a day ahead (EEK!)

So then we saw Dr. Bullen, who asked us some genetic screening questions, and I asnwered from what I remember of my donor who was pretty similar to mine. I did tell him this was a donor egg, and he told me I'll be his first donor egg patient. Everything I've read suggests not doing prenatal screenings with egg donor babies because it's comparing my child's maternal genetics to my genetics, and it's just not as accurate. Basically, comparing apples to oranges.  Dr. B said he'd call a local MFM (Maternal-Fetal Medicine) and see what he suggests, so that's nice, and also nice that I work with that particular MFM.  So I haven't had prenatal labs drawn yet, but I'm glad we're getting advice.

Dr. Bullen said he'd see me in a couple of weeks instead of 4 because I'm pretty sure I will stroke out trying to make it a month without seeing, hearing, or feeling my child move.  Nevermind that it won't really be a month, because I see Dr. Donesky again next week.  I'm really trying to avoid getting a doppler for home use.  The first time the baby shifted to a new position and I didn't get it in the "normal spot" I'm pretty sure I'd end up at our local mental health institution over nothing.

So everyone seemed genuinely happy for us to be there for a prenatal appointment.  My doc's medical assistant Jerri hugged me and told me she was so excited for us.  Dr. Bullen congratulated us at least 8 times.  It made this whole thing seem slightly more real.

There is still a nagging fear that I could wake up and all of this come to a tragic end, but as my friend said tonight, I know I can do this now.  I'll always have Pico to thank for that.

Peace, Love, and Holy Shit, I'm Actually Pregnant!
Mary Katherine Roberts

Monday, July 20, 2015

Vacation, Doodles and Dogs, and Pico...

So we went on vacation last week, hence no update as I had no appointment to blog about.

Vacation was wonderful!  We got to take our puppies this year, so our first-born daughter Emma Grace went with us and just was a blast to have around.  We lucked out and got a great dog with her.

Then there is the newest addition to my little brother, a golden doodle named Marvin.  He's only 18 months old, he looks and acts like a muppet, and is dumb enough to let me do whatever I want to him...

So anyway, Marvin loves any type of ball. His 2nd love in life is fishing.  He's so obsessed with fishing that he manipulated my husband who doesn't own a fishing pole into getting a fishing license so he can fish when he's out on the houseboat with bad/old/corroded poles... He will literally watch your line for hours. His most frequent fishing partners, "Uncle Dennis and Aunt Sandy" even think he can tell when you've got a bite before you feel a tug.  He barks when you have a fish, and then tries to bite the fish when it's on the dock.

Now that you've got some background here's a fun Doodle story...

So at the beach, our beach house neighbors were fishing.  They caught a 3.5 foot, juvenile black tip shark.  Marvin was super excited.  They worked to get if off the line and back into the surf so it could swim to freedom, but Marvin wouldn't stand for that.  So Marvin yanked away from Mom and herded the shark into the rocky groin and proceeded to bite the shark on the head...The poor shark who was probably still hypoxic got even more confused and tried to head back to land.  The 10ish year-old boy who had been fishing all week, too, just shook his head from side to side sighing, "Marvin." Emma sat on the beach beside the crowd of people pretty much thinking the same thing.  Finally, one of our neighbors pulled Marvin off the shark, and after a couple more confused minutes, he made his way out of the Great White Doodle's turf.

So my point is...Take your dog to the beach with you!! It's loads of fun!!! They may even attack a shark!
Here they are unscathed, after the shark attack...or rather, the attack on the shark. 
So this is how I distracted myself from not knowing what was going on with Pico for almost 2 weeks. Come this morning, I was in full panic attack mode complete with chest pain because I knew Pico was gone.  Why?  I don't symptoms are fading, so I think I read somewhere that could be a sign of a missed miscarriage. Twelve-ish week ultrasounds seems to be the most frequent time to find out your baby died according to the miscarriage stories I have been told.  Also, this was my first solo visit to the fertility clinic since we got the wonderful news, meaning I was sure if anything was going to happen, it would be this week with no one there to tell me it would be okay, again.  

Literally, I have to constantly remind myself of this.  But sometimes, you learn your children are stronger than you.  Sometimes, you learn that way earlier than you imagined you would.  Pico doesn't know Mama panics when she's having pressure or cramps.  Pico doesn't give up because Mama was a couple hours later than normal taking her afternoon dose of progesterone. Thankfully, Pico is one of those children that is far superior than his/her Mama...  Pico was there, squirming, with a heartbeat of 168. Twenty fingers and toes, a nice large cranium, and that's about all he or she'd let us see. Still bashful and enjoying hiding in the placenta. I was elated.  It was as good as that very first ultrasound.  Pico even measured a day ahead at 11.6 even though we're at 11.5. (I know, right?!).  We have a professional basketball player on our hands...Or at least, maybe a child that will breach 64 inches one day, possibly...*DREAM TALL*

Apparently all that she-crab soup I ate was good for the baby.  I think this is the most I've eaten in 11 weeks.  I was a total fat kid.  I didn't even have the heart to weigh myself this morning because I didn't want to see the damage..I did later, and I gained 3 lbs,..Oh well, I'm still down 9.

So anyway at 11.5 weeks, I am

Down 9 lbs
Craving - nothing, but I bought pickles, yogurt-covered raisins, and bomb pops at the grocery store. Not my usual grocery store staples.   
Averse to Progresso Soup...So, so very averse...
Feeling- My boobs still ache, but that's about it.
Favorite thing...STILL BEING PREGNANT!!!

Peace, Love, and She-Crab Soup,

Mary Katherine

Thursday, July 9, 2015

My Baby has a Brain!!!

At our last appointment, we started talking about prenatal screening.  So the further the time from seeing my squiggly little Pico, the more I worried. I started obsessing over every possible thing that could go wrong, especially anencephaly.  I cognitively understood that my baby was moving, which requires a cerebral cortex, but the anxious infertile in me could not accept that.  

Today, we saw both hemispheres!  Pico had his/her first and hopefully only brain scan! The US took a little longer, because we have "an active little kid" according to Dr. Donesky.  It melts my heart.  I hope it's an indication of a feisty little boy or girl.  I didn't want to have children to have baby dolls. 

We could see thumbs, a nose, ears.  On the 2D side we could see little feet.  Pico measured a little shorter, but was staying pretty balled up...again not cooperating.  We also couldn't see feet or toes on the 3D side because he or she wanted to be all in the placenta.  The heart rate is still strong at 162. 

So we talked about graduating to an OB...WHAT?!! I'm not ready.  I'm still having difficulty accepting that all this is for real?  Like really, actually, for reals happening to me? 

So much to for my infertile pea brain to process!  

So at 10.1 weeks, I am

Down 12 lbs... I have no idea...I've eaten every carbohydrate in sight for the last 2 weeks...
Feeling...Ugh.  Well, I got my first migraine while pregnant a few days ago, and because I could only take tyelenol...which might as well have been a tic-tac, I got to suffer that, and this just indigestive nastiness.  I'm not able to eat much until the evening, but then I'm starving, and I eat too much and then the cycle continues. You'd think as a health professional I could remedy this situation, but I'm *SO HUNGRY (*better if read in Chris Farley voice) at 6:00pm...
Averse to Progresso...I'm glad more people don't read this blog...I'd get a cease and desist letter from Progresso...
In love with my pets.  Even though they are being totally weird, they are sweet.  Emma Grace my golden seems clingier, my cats seem snugglier, Gaius all the time wants to stand on my sore boobs, or tries to hatch Pico by sitting on my abdomen.  Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to having Pico on the outside one day with his big brothers and sister.  So much fun to be had!

Peace, Love, and Cerebral Cortices,
Mary Katherine

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Happy Big Fetus Week!

Yes, Pico!!! You're not an embryo anymore.  You're a solid, moving, heartbeating, big boy or girl fetus!

It's been a big week for Pico.  His/Her heart is almost completely developed. Should be close to an inch long [well, maybe...], and really your mom (me) is starting to feel better already.

I mean I can nap like a champion, but the dizziness is pretty much gone, I don't notice my boobs quite as much.  I have to admit, that when I'm not so anxious about the viability of this pregnancy, it's pretty easy-going. I won't get to see Pico until next Thursday, and I can't wait!  It feels like forever away, but I'm looking forward to all the changes they go through in 10 days and comparing it to the last scan.  Really every pregnancy is a miracle.  The whole process of going from a tiny egg and sperm to a human, and being at an advantage of getting to watch it pretty closely is breath-taking.

I have no idea what my baby is going to look like.  I guess no one really does, but for me especially. I actually don't remember much from the donor profile except the basics, and I can't recall the pictures at all, so it's maybe going to be a little bit more surprising to us than average.  I'm cognitively aware that this is not my DNA, but my heart is 110% into this.  To put it simply, I don't really care where my babies genetic material came from.  I'm happy for BJ and myself that I get to carry his genetic child, but I'm more happy to be pregnant with what is very much my child in every other way.  The only time I've given more than a fleeting thought about it is when people have said things like "I hope the baby has your red hair."  I just smile and say thank you...and then to be honest was more confused about the red hair part...

I had 2 years to mourn my blue eyes, my BLONDE hair, and perhaps the little girl that was too dramatic for her own good.  It was hard at the time, but now it's the best decision we've ever made with regard to fertility treatments.  For me, experiencing pregnancy, and not doing meth/crack/dope/heroin/Opana/alcohol while being pregnant were ultimately more important to me than what the baby looked like.  I know people have had great adoption experiences, but we really left our adoption consultation with a bleak outlook.  Not to mention I'm saturated in drug babies working as a women's health nurse in East TN, so I'm probably not the best to separate myself from some of these stories.  It is a sad reality, and I just wanted a chance at not having a child exposed to those things.  That was my dealbreaker, which pretty much put us at an extreme disadvantage according to our consultant in an already slim market.  She told us that things have gotten worse in recent years, and that while most of the children turn out fine, there were always risks.  Well, in my heart, there is enough risk with any pregnancy that I can't deal with the thought of intentionally exposing my child to more harm.  Again, fortunately, there are better/stronger people than I, who are happy to adopt these children.  But between it being an absolute, and having a doctor tell me I was capable of getting pregnant, I'm glad we stuck with the path we chose.

I can't stand the thought of looking at a precious baby in a crib and ever thinking "What if?"  At that point in our family planning, I couldn't promise that thought would not occur, and so we chose to let go of the adoption process and pursue egg donors, again.  At one time, I thought that about egg donation, too, so we will see how our cookies crumble down the road.

But back to our adorable little Pico...Mommy and Daddy could not be prouder of you.  Hang in there and we'll peak at you in a week!

So at 9 weeks, I am...

...holding at -10 lbs.
...craving...anything in chicken broth...chicken and rice soup, chicken noodle soup, egg drop soup, Chicken flavored Ramen [cringe], chicken bouillion...(good thing my BP is low when I'm not pregnant, and even lower, now!) Honestly, I don't know if I'm craving it, so much as they taste good and go down easy when my stomach is a little sour... I'm kinda disappointed I haven't made BJ go on any crazy food runs...
...averse to...Amend the above to anything in chicken broth except Progresso products...
...feeling...pretty good.  Indigestion is my biggest complaint, boobs still remind me something different is happening, and I can nap like my Golden Retriever...which is to say I can sleep multiple times during the day with no problem. love with my new Boppy Maternity Pillow...and while I'm not sporting a bump yet, it prevents me from completely rolling over on my stomach which is starting to get uncomfortable.  It's nice because it comes in 3 pieces so it can grow with me...

Peace, Love, And Making It to the Fetal Stage,
Mary Katherine