/ The RE's Muse: July 2006

The RE's Muse

After 4 years of infertility, 2 surgeries, 1 miscarriage, and 19 months of high risk pregnancies, hubby and I now have two little women in our lives--one a toddler, the other not far behind. Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a wild ride.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Now with more (b)itch--DBTs--and traveling!

Ha ha, lest you think the itch is gone...I am very unhappy to report that it is not.

I do know that "it" is likely not:

PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy)
herpes gestationis
impetigo herpetiformis
intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP)

But it may very well be papular dermatitis of pregnancy or prurigo gestationis. I have an OB appt tomorrow and will mention my itching to the doctor. It was rather mild at my last appt so I didn't think to mention it then. Yeah, I've gone way beyond mild now. Here's hoping there will be some relief in my near future.

In other news, I've put the rental doppler away for the time being. It arrived a week-and-a-half ago, mere hours after I had returned home from my perinatalogist appt where we heard the heartbeat on their doppler. Needless to say, I was unable to find it on the rental doppler that afternoon and have not been able to find it at any point in time since then. Deep cleansing breaths....

Rather than panic myself with DBTs (and believe me, they make their presence known before I kick them to the curb), I've packed it up and decided I'd wait a little while longer to try again. I'm cruising into 12 weeks in a matter of days and when I looked back in my pregnancy journal from J--I saw that I didn't hear hers at home until just after 11 weeks along. So I'll bide some more time just to be safe.

For now, though, I hope to hear it at tomorrow's appt on the OB's machine. I mean, I still feel like shit, the nausea and exhaustion (and miss J) are kicking my ass every. single. day so I'm pretty sure the wee one is thriving in there--crossing fingers, knees, eyes, and more to the heavens on that statement, mind you.

I leave for five blissful days in a lovely Gulfside city on FL's west coast (about a four hour drive for me) tomorrow evening. There will be no A and no little miss J with me--I'll miss them, but man, momma needs some sleep...and some time on the beach, in the spa, reading some books, doing some shopping, dining out, movie watching, etc...just a little me time with the SIL. Two girls on a five day spa retreat. My computer will join me so I'll post any exciting goings on that may come up. I don't anticipate any excitement...this is one vacation where that is not at the top of the list. Relaxation is the word du jour instead.

Monday, July 24, 2006

It's not the itching, but the scratching

Dear sweet mercy...I have got it bad. And by "it" I have no clue what the hell I've got.

Back in the early weeks of pregnancy with J, I developed this odd rash on the backs of my calves, the insides of my lower thighs (towards the knee) and on my elbows. Back then, I saw a derm, who had no idea what it was, other than some odd manifestation of pregnancy. He prescribed an ointment (pregnancy category C) and advised minimal usage of it only when necessary. Yeah, I think I used it two or three time but it was of little help so I recently chucked it out. After about a month or two, if memory serves me correctly, the rash up and left just as it had come--without warning.

Fast foward 20 months, I've miraculously gotten knocked up with #2, and the rash is back with a vengeance...in the same exact locations. This time, I didn't bother going to the derm only to be diagnosed as "I don't know WTF you have got, you pregnant freak but here's a potentially tetraogenic drug to take only as necessary." No thank you. Instead, I'm opting to suffer it out, and lord, I am suffering.

I wake up in the night unconciously scratching my legs. I slather on dye-free, fragrance-free lotion throughout the day to moisturize in hopes that will help (it doesn't). I sometimes even get bold and put on a little bit of topical b3nadryl in hopes that will help (which it doesn't). And I consciously scratch them throughout the day to just get.a.little.blessed.relief. What can I say? I have little self-control.

And while it appears that my elbows are improving, my legs are worsening. I've scratched myself raw in spots. Some of them have little scabs on them. I absolutely will not (and cannot) wear shorts in public.

Anytime now, you can go away rash. Take leave and return from whence you came...please?

Anyone have any good (homeopathic, pregnancy-friendly, natural, etc.) remedies to recommend? Anyone?


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

One foot in the grave, one fetus growing in the belly

Well, that was fun. "That" being yesterday's consult with the genetic counselor. Given the fact that I'm--by their standards--geriatric in reproductive years, the odds are 1 in 131 that something will be wrong with the fetbryo. Blah blah blah...yes, I'm old; yes, I know the odds are higher, but hey, I already said we're up for the amnio so back off. Stick that in your hat. And she did: the amnio is scheduled for late August. You know, she said, a little early so that way you have more time. Thanks Debbie Downer. Wah-wah.

(When I was pregnant with J, my odds were 1 in 212 that something might be wrong with her. Which, according to the counselor, means I've gone up about a half-percentage point in risk since a year-and-a-half ago. Que sera sera lady. )

Today found me at the OB's for another u/s. Standard run of the mill stuff. What wasn't so standard was the dimmed soft lighting and the Frank Sinatra on the radio. I told her that setting the mood wasn't necessary since I was already knocked up. She laughed. And measured away. The fetus, being a fan of Sinatra, danced for our viewing pleasure. And showed off it's umbilical cord and heart, among other more blob-like indiscernible features. Measurements were 3 days off my actual gestational age but given the +/- in ultrasounds meant that all was spot on. They only worry when measurements are +/- 7 or more days.

Fatigue has wrapped its claws around me and will not let go. I could sleep all day if possible. But with J running around, it's not. She's 13 months old today...how fast time is going by. And how slow her teeth are in coming in. Nothing more since tooth #1 appeared back in the first week of June. Hmmmph.

Counting down to the arrival of her own #2, Menita over at Life's Jest Book wrote last week about how she was watching Polly enjoy her last days of only-childhood, unbeknownst to her (and a congratulatory shout out to Menita--who delivered Bingo this morning!). I'm starting to feel that way about J though I still have awhile to go, and starting to hope and worry that she won't one day resent the fact that we gave her a sibling. I hope that she won't wonder why she 'wasn't enough' or anything else along those lines.

In reality, she's more than I ever dreamed possible.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Home again home again, jiggity jig

Back from Key West in one piece. And, in case you were wondering, yes, we ended up having to spill the beans to our friends. Apparently, I was not going to be let off the hook for not joining them in their drunken revelry had I not come clean on the current state of affairs in my uterus.

The trip was generally fun...most of the time. Of course, there were the times when all in our circle were intoxicated and obnoxious--well, you know, except for moi. Those would be the not-so-fun parts of the trip. It's not that I wanted to be among their ranks of drunk and disorderly, no. It was more the putting up with the drunk and disorderly that was painful. Anyone who knows me IRL knows that I'm not a drinker so me being sober while the friends aren't is par for the course. But man, the older I get, the less amusing their drunk hijinks are to me. So that means that while on vacation with my pals, I bail and head back to the house solo post-dinner.

That was the best part of the trip--evenings spent in quiet solitude while the drunks went out carousing. I had the sofa and tv all to myself and life was good. The house was a gorgeous 1884 conch home only a block off of Duval and Front Streets. Basically, it was a quick walk to anywhere we wanted to get to. As nice as it was though, I was still happiest when it was time to head home.

Aside from readjusting back to every day life after vacation, things here are status quo. J had a lovely time with her aunt and cousins here at our house while we were gone. And I missed her like mad, phoning home each morning and evening for an update.

If you're wondering about my boarder, we're still hanging in there. I'm cruising into 9 weeks, holy crap, which means the embryo is cruising into fetus status. I've got an u/s scheduled for next week and then I'm cold turkey on the scans for who knows how long (amnio w/u/s around 17 weeks I believe followed by the level II shortly thereafter). I've been debating whether or not to rent a doppler again and I don't know why I don't just do it. It was a sanity saver with J's pregnancy.

I generally feel pretty good, though I'm hungry all the time and quick to queasy if I don't eat regularly. Fatigue has also hit me pretty hard in recent weeks as has boob tenderness. In general, though, I'm doing okay.

While this pregnancy is still completely surreal to me and I feel like I'm experiencing it through someone else's body, my love for J is growing exponentially with each day. She's at a wonderful age, almost 13 months, and every day is full of new experiences. And the hugs! Lots and lots of them--my favorite are the ones where she runs all the way across the room towards me with her arms wide open, only to fling herself into my outstretched arms when she reaches me. Bliss, pure and simple, and worth every painful experience we went through on the road to her.

Seriously, how will I ever be able to love another child as much as I love her? And how will I be able to not play favorites when she is the one who made me a mom first?

Others have said it is possible, but right now, I just don't see how.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Present and accounted for

I am still breathing...and leaving for Key West shortly with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.

This morning's u/s found a perfectly sized/dated embryo. The good RE wished me well with our Valentine's baby and sent me on my way. One signed records release later and I was on my own, property of the OB from here on out.

I was so relieved by the visit. I didn't know how much baggage I was carrying with me still until I saw that glorious HB again on the u/s today. I was hoping for the best, expecting the worst. Luckily, it was the best that greeted me this morning.

Let's hope it continues that way shall we?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Land of the normal...or what hell is this?

Yeah, so Monday was our first OB appt with this pregnancy. Talk about boring...since I was only 7 1/2 weeks, he didn't even try to hear the heartbeat with the doppler. I was robbed. Hell, I don't know how fertiles do it. Who the heck has a first u/s around 9+ weeks?

Thank goodness the RE was still willing to see me these past few weeks though I hadn't been a patient there since late 2004. That early care goes a long way. And speaking of that, tomorrow morning is my next (and final) appt with the RE and we will get another u/s--just in time for our trip to Key West tomorrow afternoon. To say I'm looking forward to both the u/s and the trip are understatements.

Next week, I'll get my first u/s at the OB. After that, the doc tells me the next one won't be until the level II around 18 to 20 weeks (or the amnio a few weeks prior). Again, how do fertiles do it? With J, I got so many ultrasounds, I mean literally, her journal has about 25 or so ultrasound photos. I especially got a ton near the end of the pregnancy with those weekly NSTs and BPPs at the maternal fetal doc.

I'll also see the maternal fetal specialist next week to set up the amnio, etc. Yes, we'll be going that route again like we did with J. Though this time, we're not doing the AFP screen at all. The OB figured why bother doing it to end up with a potential false positive that scares me half to death when we're going to opt for the amnio anyway should that be the case (especially likely since that happened with J and I'm also a on a medication that can skew the test results, and you know--since I'm so old too). Good rationale on his part, and I was glad to know that I won't have to go through that fresh hell again this go'round.

With J's pregnancy, very little of my care fell to this doc (of the 6 partners in the practice) during my pregnancy but he did end up delivering us. Back then, he never remembered me, had trouble keeping track of my issues, etc., but he's really gotten his shit together since then. And he's got a good sense of humor--which is very important to us! 'Cause if you can't laugh at yourself, who the heck can you laugh at? A and I both really like him, which is great. Plus, I figure he's seen EVERYTHING I've got, up close and personal, which goes a long way for me. We're hoping he'll be able to deliver us this time as well (you know, if we get that far and all). We'll see. For now, though, I'm not counting any chickens before they hatch so the idea will roll around my head for the time being.

Next up...u/s tomorrow. Gah, I wish I could drink alcohol. Doing Key West dry with 5 drinking folks in our circle of friends (of the 6 of us) should make for a very interesting time for me. Lucky bastards.

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