Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015


My husband is the 4th generation W in his family. W and his father go by different, yet similar names. When I got pregnant with the girls we discussed using his name and having a 5th W. To be honest, I'm not wild about the name. I consider it an "old man" name and don't know many people even the same age as W that share the name. It's typically a name seen on the charts in nursing homes. 

In the end, we had two girls so didn't need to worry about using the name. 

This time around, I guess we'll see whether we feel pressured to use it or not. In the past his mother had suggested using the name and then calling the child something completely different. I don't really understand doing that, but my friend Natasha (click on her name for the link to her blog) was quick to help come up with nicknames for the 5th generation.  

One of those nicknames was Quincy. And it's stuck. I'm not saying the W name stands much of a chance this time around either, but I like the nickname Quincy. We had talked about using W as a middle name possibly, but we're really not ready to talk names yet. 

So, for the foreseeable future, baby #3 will be referred to as Quincy. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

February ICLW

I decided to participate in ICLW for the first time in a long time. I'm glad to be participating and hoping to visit some new blogs this week. 

My name is Liz. I'm 31 and married to my husband W who is 33. I am a speech-language pathologist that worked with pediatrics but am mainly home with my 17 month twin girls Lucy and Clara at this time. I do occasional evaluations, but thats only a few times a month. My husband is a physical therapist that works with the other end of the age spectrum, geriatrics. 

It took us 2 1/2 years of fertility treatments including 5 fresh IVF cycles and 4 FET cycles to get the girls. I love being able to spend every day with them and to be able to watch them constantly change and grow. Most recently I found out W and I got pregnant spontaneously with baby #3, on a cycle a ovulated from my ovary that doesn't have a tube. It was super surprising given our history. We instantly started working with our reproductive immunologist again and got on a lot of the same medications I was on with my successful pregnancy with the girls. I had my second ultrasound yesterday and the baby had a nice strong heartbeat at 160 beats per minute and was measuring 8w3d. 

I usually like to ask questions to others for ICLW. That way it makes commenting super easy. 

Do you have any vacations planned in the near future or have you recently been on vacation?
W and I are planning to bring the girls to Cancun in April and I can't wait!

Do you have any projects started that need to be finished?
I started a quilt for my sister and I really need to work on it some. I'm struggling since I've only ever made baby quilts and didn't realize how much more work a queen sized quilt would be. I'm not exactly super motivated to finish it. 

What's the last book you really loved?
It's been a while since I read it but I really loved The Light Between Oceans. 

I'm looking forward to visiting and commenting on some new blogs and hoping to find some new ones to follow. I'm glad to be participating again. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Lately I've been feeling frustrated by my in-laws. Part of it is that it's the middle of winter and I am starting to feel like I live in the arctic tundra. We seriously have about three feet of snow outside and the temperatures have been so low it's not going anywhere. It's times like this that I wonder why we live where we do. The simple answer? Family.

I don't really enjoy living in a place where I can't play outside with my children for half of the year. We moved to a house within walking distance to a playground. The only problem is we can only really walk and play there half of the year.

We also lack sunshine. It's so grey in the winter because we are close to the great lakes and receive lake effect snow and weather. I grew up about 3 hours east of here. It is much sunnier there in the winter. W and I also spent two winters together in Jackson Hole, WY. When it wasn't snowing it was generally sunny. It's so much more motivating to get outside for a walk or some cross country skiing when it's sunny. It feels like the only sunny days around here are also the sub zero ones.

My mom is a great help for me. She generally comes over a few times a week to help and I'm so grateful for that. My in laws, on the other hand, aren't very consistent or reliable. Well, actually my FiL is a great help and loves to spend time with the girls. The only thing is, every winter he leaves for 6 full weeks to go ski in Jackson Hole, WY. It's hard to be able to rely and count on someone and then have them be gone for 6 weeks. 

My MiL really only sees the girls about 2 times a month. She prefers to me to bring them to her and they won't nap there well (not to mention last time they tried Lucy fell out of the crib because they hadn't lowered it). If W and I bring them to her we get about an hour and a half and often spend it running errands. 

It frustrates me that my MiL doesn't want to be more involved. We live here to be close to family and she spends more time with her nephew who lives 6 hours away than the girls. To her friends she pretends to be super-grandma, but I don't even think she's totally comfortable watching both girls by herself. 

After we got back from NYC we were totally burnt out. Since my mom came with us we didn't feel comfortable asking her to do more. Not to mention she has my brother to care for too (he's 13). It was Valentine's day and W and I didn't get to go on any kind of date. My FiL was thousands of miles away and my MiL was in NJ helping plan weddings for W's cousins. To be honest, we still haven't celebrated our anniversary that was in October. 

It really just seems like we're not a priority to her. Church, going to the gym, seeing her grandson in DC, and conference calls all seem more important. It's frustrating to say the least.

So, W had a conversation with her this week to tell he how we were feeling. I think part of it is that I'm feeling exhausted and sick, and taking care of 17 month toddler twins is tough when you don't feel good! I could really use more help. 

She was here today so that I could go to a yoga class. She still took a conference call and insisted on heating up her lunch before the girls', but hey, it's a start. My FiL will be back in another week or two and I know he can't wait to see the girls. I'm just hoping they can step it up a little to help more with another baby on the way. In all fairness though we haven't told them yet. I guess I feel like if they were more involved in our lives they would know by now. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

17 Months

The girls are growing and changing like crazy. I can't believe they'll be a year and a half old soon. Time really does fly when you're having fun!

Lucy- You have turned into a walking fool. As soon as we took the gate down between the living and dining rooms you starting walking laps around the house. You love practicing and are getting so good at it. You're officially walking more than crawling. This past month your speech has really taken off too. You're imitating like crazy, using the following words consistently (mama, dada, up, down, rock, cheese, pepper, Ben-Ben, Pop Pop, Hi, book, stamp, pa-pa for Paci, dog, go, sss for sissy), and also still using about 5-10 signs (eat, milk, water, help, more, music, all done). This past month was huge for you as you stopped nursing (not by choice, but by necessity). You did so amazingly well with the transition and I'm so proud of you. It took about 2 weeks, but now you don't ask for it and you seemed to have forgotten completely. You're drinking great out of your sippy cup and generally eating well. You love carbs and cheese, but also love trying new and different things. For the first time in your whole life you slept 11 hours straight. You're still usually up once a night. It's getting better as you're more willing to let your daddy soothe you at night. Since stopping nursing you're sleeping so much better. You have 11 teeth and are working on your last bottom molar. You know a bunch of clothing items and body parts and love to point to them when we ask. You're understanding so much and it amazes me. You still love in and out type of play but I found you pretending to care for two babies one night and it completely melted my heart. You're wearing mostly 12-18 month clothes and you still don't need and rise snaps on your cloth diapers. You decided you don't want to cooperate for physical therapy again and the therapist is mostly working with Clara. You have been extra attached to your Mama and you and Clara both don't like when Grandma Dukes gets you out of your carseat. You're such a little cutie walking around everywhere. Someone at music class thought you were too small to be walking. You're still our little peanut! 

Just brushing my teeth in bed!
stacking blocks

Our last nursing session :(
Clara- You're also trying to walk so much more like your sister. When you see her walking it motivates you to also try. Unfortunately, you're having a slightly more difficult time. We will probably see an orthopedic to check it out soon. You are able to walk about 5-10 steps most times before falling and have figured out the slower you go the easier it is. You have 8 teeth but feel like you're working on a bottom molar. Your favorite foods are clementines. You would eat them all day long if we let you. You are trying to talk more and imitating more consistently. You say mama, dada, sss (for sissy), cheese, pop pop, and stamp. You tend to rely more on signing and are getting so much better about using signs rather than whining. It's great to see you communicating your wants and needs so effectively. You're still our great sleeper although teething sometimes wakes you up. When you do wake up you generally go back to sleep easily. You transitioned to not nursing easily. I knew you would as you happy to go with the flow most times. You are wearing 12-18 month clothes and have a rise snap on your cloth diapers. You love that you are getting the physical therapist's attention and really enjoy working with her. You're much more outgoing with people you know but still quite attached to your mama in unfamiliar or large public places. You don't want me to put you down during music class and don't like Grandma Dukes to get you out of your carseat. You still love your paci and snuggling with your lovey at bed and naptimes. You really liked playing on your slide and with jewelry and puzzles this month. It's so amazing to see you learn and grow every day and I feel so lucky to be able to watch it every day. 

It's a tough life!

Our last time nursing
drinking and driving

Lucy and Clara play nicely together at times but still fight quite a bit and will try to bite or hit one another when frustrated. The thing is, they use their sign language a lot with us but not with each other so there's still a lot of frustration between them. Opening up the gate between the rooms of the house has given them more space and reduced some of their fighting. It really think it's just a frustrating age because they are able to understand so much but not really express much at all. I'm sure as they get more words they will learn to play together better. There are times when one is upset and the other will get a paci and give it to her or they will hug each other spontaneously and it melts my heart. I know they really do love each other. 
Big girls can do this huge slide by themselves. 
Giving sissy high fives

The biggest thing this month that happened was we found out Lucy and Clara are going to be big sisters. It's really been surprising to say the least. There are times when I feel overwhelmed and scared for having three children 25 months apart, but there are also times where I look at my girls and think about how much I love them. It makes me so excited that I'm going to get to love on another little person soon. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lucky Friday the 13th

We left Thursday night around Lucy and Clara's bedtime for our trip to Long Island for my first ultrasound appointment. We had booked a hotel room that was about 5 minutes from Dr. Braverman's office so that we could drive down the night before and be close in the morning. The drive went pretty well despite hitting some snowy roads for about an hour in Pennslvania. My mom came along to help with the girls and to be able to watch them at the hotel during my appointment. 

We arrived at about 11:45 pm and W checked in while I waited in the car with my mom and the girls. We pulled around close to the room and waited while W unloaded the car (we didn't bring much because it was just overnight). He set up the pack and plays and then came down to get us. Lucy had first opened her eyes when W checked in. I asked my mom not to talk to her but she didn't really listen and was still making eye contact with her and smiling. 

We got up into the room and tried putting both girls right into the pack and plays. They both immediately started crying. So, we pulled them into our bed and laid down with them. Clara went back to sleep pretty quickly and was easily put back into her pack and play. Lucy, on the other hand, didn't go back to sleep until close to 4 am. We tried giving her Tylenol because I knew she was cutting a big molar, but that didn't seem to help. We tried putting her back into the pack and play multiple times and she would just cry. You can't really let your kid cry in a hotel room.   

The hotel had a free breakfast so we went down in the morning. There we met a couple that said they were pregnant with twin girls. When they asked us if we had any other children we said no and then asked them the same question. They said they had three others...triplet boys! Can you imagine?!

I was so nervous I barely ate. We put the girls down and left around 9:20 for my 9:45 appointment. When I checked in they gave me a cup for a urine sample. I tried my best but was only able to give them a super small amount of urine. There wasn't anyone in the waiting room and they called us back fairly quickly. The nurse was one I remembered from last time. She took my blood pressure and it was surprisingly good despite how nervous I felt. She left the room and we waited for Dr. B. 

He came in after a few minutes. He again said that if he didn't say anything right away it didn't mean anything, he just wanted to get a good look first.  

We saw a beautiful little baby that measured 6w6d and on par with when I thought I ovulated. My due date is 10/3/15. We heard an amazing heartbeat at 141 beats per minute. I asked Dr. B to check which ovary I ovulated from and he joked it was so I could tell my child when they someday ask. Sure enough, it was the one without a tube. When I said that he said the tubes actually lie overlapping on each other. I guess I didn't realize how close in proximity they were. 

He checked the doppler blood flow and it was pretty uncomfortable. He made more jokes as he seems to do and said the blood flow to my uterus was slightly constricted but that the blood flow from my uterus to the baby was great. He didn't think there was any need to change any of the medications at this time. He asked about the immune panel and I said it was pending. I asked about Neupogen and told him it was denied by my insurance. He said once the insurance company denies it there's no point in appealing it. I asked about donated meds and he said he would check if there were any. He then asked,"See you again next week?" I then reminded him that we lived almost 5 hours away, so he said he wanted me to get another ultrasound next week locally. He said he'd like to see me again around 10 weeks and we said we'd be able to make that work. 

I then asked him if he allowed children in the office. He said he didn't have any problems with it but knew the infertility patients sometimes complained about it. He liked to see it as what could be for those patients and said it would be great if we brought the girls in for some pictures. 

When I went to check out the nurse said my urine sample was going to be enough and that I didn't need to try again. I asked her about Neupogen and she said she'd check. It took her a little while but she came back with 4 vials! I was so happy and grateful as they are each $360 OOP and one of them lasts about 3 1/2 days. 

Since the appointment was so quick I texted my mom to see if the girls were sleeping. We didn't hear back from her so we went to a plaza nearby the office we've been to before. We went into a few stores and grabbed me a coffee before heading back to the room. 

The girls woke up when we got back and we packed everything up. We headed back to Dr. B's office for them to see the girls. There was another child and another couple waiting in the room. The other child was around the same age and we were talking some with the mom. I could tell the other couple wasn't pleased to see all the kids in the office. After a bit Dr. B came out and we got some pics of the four of us with him and then passed the girls off. They immediately started crying (as I suspected they would) and we got some funny pics. Dr. B was a good sport to smile while holding two crying babies. He told them, "Last time I saw you two you were just circles." I guess they didn't think he was too funny. 

From there we headed into Manhattan. My mom fed the girls snacks as we drove. We parked in a garage about 7 blocks from a restaurant and Children's museum I had scoped out. We walked to the restaurant and had an amazing lunch of dosas. The girls ate them and also loved trying something new. We were both impressed when Clara was gladly eating chicken curry. 

We then walked around the corner to the Children's Museum of Manhattan. This museum was a bit pricey as we had to also pay for the girls (most museums around here don't charge for children their age). It was so worth it though! The girls had such a great time. They were both walking all over the place and loved all the slides everywhere. Every time we moved on from one thing to the next they were sad. It was 5 floors that were all so much fun! There was a lot for kids their age and they had a ton of fun playing and watching the other kids. We stayed for a few hours and then headed out from there. It being their nap time we expected them to sleep for quite a while. 

Lucy had other plans. The ride home wasn't fun with her even with the DVD players we bought. They helped some, but she was teething and exhausted, so didn't want to be in her carseat. I ended up in the backseat with them for most of the ride home. We stopped at a rest area for dinner (soup dumplings that we had picked up in the city before heading out) but unfortunately there weren't any tables there apart from the ones outdoors and buried under a least a foot of snow. We improvised and made it work on a bench and then let the girls walk around and tire themselves out. 

For the rest of the trip Lucy mostly slept but would wake up crying about every 15-20 minutes. It wasn't a fun 3 remaining hours to say the least. With traffic and stops our ride home took 7 hours. Luckily both girls went down in their cribs and slept the rest of the night once we got home. 

I'm feeling so much better about things having seen and heard that little heartbeat. It's so amazing to think there's another little baby growing inside me. Next week I'll probably end up at the local fertility clinic for my ultrasound unless I'm able to get in at my ob's office. I'm hoping things continue to go well and stay uneventful. 

Monday, February 9, 2015


Due to the most recent storm moving across the entire state of New York, we were forced to cancel our first ultrasound appointment with dr. B. We had even purchased DVD players for the girls in the car and booked a hotel room in preparation. Luckily, we were able to cancel the hotel and reschedule the appointment.

This means waiting until Friday. I rescheduled for that day because it was most convenient for W to get the day off. I didn't however realize it's Friday the 13th. Great. 

This Friday I should be 7 weeks. So far I've been feeling tired in the afternoons and nauseous like crazy in the middle of the night and in the early mornings. The past three nights I woke up I got sick. It's not fun at all to feel so awful but it's also somewhat reassuring at the same time. I actually emailed dr. B this morning asking about taking zofran with metformin because I'm not tolerating the metformin well. 

W has been so helpful and great. He's been helping as much with the girls as he is able. Having him feed them breakfast is so nice since looking at food that early in the morning makes me feel sick. He's really been so helpful and I appreciate it. 

Now, to make it to Friday...

Thursday, February 5, 2015


The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Due to having shared my blog with friends and family, I've been hesitant to share what's been going on. But, I've decided I need to get this off my chest. 

I had my follow up appointment with my ob/gyn on January 7th. They did an ultrasound and there was a large cyst on my left ovary (the ovary without a tube). Having had a positive ovulation test the week prior I assumed it was a corpus luteum cyst from ovulation. The ultrasound technician said it was hard to tell what kind of cyst she was looking at, but if I thought I had ovulated it was possible it was a corpus luteum cyst. I talked with my dr after the ultrasound. I was meeting with him because my cycle the prior month had been 62 days and I felt like a hormonal nightmare. He said he didn't feel like I needed to do anything specific, but he was happy to offer progesterone to help regulate my cycles. I told him that I had started taking Pregnitude (a myo-inositol and folic acid supplement) I had leftover from my IVF cycle with Lucy and Clara and felt like it was really helping with my moods and to shorten my cycles. 

I left the appointment feeling positive. I was feeling like my moods were better, my cycles were shortening, and I was tuned in enough to my body to have an idea of what was going on. Based on my ovulation test and ultrasound it seemed I ovulated the week prior on CD 16. That was way better than the prior month. Maybe the myo-inositol was helping. 

The next day I started to feel like taking another ovulation test was worth taking. Having been clued into my body and how I was feeling, I thought I was showing signs of ovulation. Within a minute of taking the test I had a super dark and obvious positive test. Compared to the week prior, it was a much more convincingly positive test. At one point I debated calling my drs office to find out the size of the cyst on the ultrasound. It made me wonder whether it was actually a follicle rather than a post ovulatory cyst. I never did call. 

At that point I started to feel frustrated and like I had no idea what was going on. Just the day before I had my appointment and left feeling so positive. I was frustrated my cycle was going to be longer, and who knew how many times I'd get positive ovulation tests that month. I had read that using ovulation tests with PCOS can yield inaccurate results. Was this going to happen every week? Were my cycles going to continue to be 50-60 days?

11 days later after my second round of positive ovulation tests (on January 20th) I wrote this post: 

Yesterday morning after putting the girls down I started to get myself ready since we had a play date scheduled with some friends. On a whim I took a cheapy pregnancy test. Prior to hopping in the shower I peeked at it and swore I saw a shadow of a second line.

While in the shower I talked myself down. There was no way. I knew I ovulated from the ovary without a tube. 

When I got out I took another look. There was definitely a shadow of a second line. So, like any sane person would do, I used two more tests. Both also showed a super faint second line. It was at that point that I started shaking and didn't stop for at least an hour. 

The first thing I did was to email Dr. Braverman. He said to get an HCG test done ASAP so I called my ob. They were happy to call a script in to my local hospital. 

The girls woke up and we went to our play date. It was nice to have a bit of a distraction from my racing mind. From her house I dropped the girls at home with my mom and went to the dentist. Luckily the dentist didn't take long and I was able to head over for blood work after without having to tell my mom. 

On the way home I stopped at he pharmacy to pick up my metformin and purchased some FRER pregnancy tests. I came home and took one only to see 2 lines again. 

I didn't want to tell W over the phone or text so I waited until he got home. As he was feeding the girls their afternoon snack I set up my camera and took a video while I handed him the tests. His face was absolute shock and confusion at first that quickly turned into happiness and excitement. 
I had to laugh that these were the shirts I picked out for Clara and Lucy that morning. 
Two days later I wrote this:

As I said, the first person I contacted when I discovered on Monday I was pregnant was Dr. B. He advised me to get a beta ASAP and I did that afternoon.

I called my ob's office to get the results on Tuesday. My HCG was 21 and my progesterone was 14. I had taken another FRER test that morning and the line was darker than the previous afternoon. With the positive result, my ob's office wanted me to repeat the test on Wednesday. 

I emailed Dr. B Tuesday afternoon with the results and he advised I call the office and register with their pregnancy management. I called that afternoon and talked with the receptionist. Despite telling me she'd email me the packet of info, she didn't that afternoon.

I didn't sleep well all night and finally emailed Dr. B early Wednesday morning saying I'd called but hadn't gotten the information. He replied quickly and I heard from the office shortly after. They sent me the packet of info I needed to fill out and fax or email back ASAP. 

After our Music Together class this morning (Wednesday) I headed for another blood test. From there I went somewhere to fax the paperwork. 

I got my protocol Wednesday afternoon and medications are being ordered. I will be on Lovenox, baby aspirin, neupogen, metformin, and calcium. 

I'm feeling so anxious and scared. I said it's impossible to embrace this pregnancy without getting excited and I'm too scared something will go wrong to get excited. 

Things moved quickly to get medications ordered. My second beta was 73. This was a doubling time of 25 hours. I found out my insurance needed to pre-approve the neupogen so we paid for the first vial OOP at $360 so I could get started ASAP.

A few days later I called the insurance company to find out an update on the medication. I was told it was denied because I didn't have any of the specified conditions listed for the medication. They told me I could appeal if I wanted. 

We've been forced to pay for this medication OOP. One vial lasts about three and a half days. To say I'm stressed about the price is an understatement. I'm not sure whether it's worth it to appeal to the insurance company as I've been through the process before without success. This expense is really unexpected for us.  

Things have been stressful. I've been so scared and anxious. I've had three early miscarriages. I need certain medications to sustain a pregnancy and I wasn't on them initially. We want to get excited about this amazing news, but we still are having a hard time. 

Starting the neupogen meant stopping breastfeeding. I wasn't planning to stop as suddenly, but was in the process of gradually weaning the girls. I wanted it to be more on their terms, but I stopped because it wasn't safe to continue. That's been another tough thing I've been dealing with emotionally. 

We've also found out that two sets of good friends will be moving in the next few months. 

I guess you could say we were trying to get pregnant... sort of.  We really didn't think it would happen, but said we'd be thrilled if it did. I knew my cycles were long and things weren't looking too good for it happening without assistance. We had talked about going back to Dr. B in the fall around the time the girls turned two.  

I finally scheduled an ultrasound with Dr. B for next Monday, February 9th. Based on my timing, I will be 6w3d. I was so scared to schedule anything. I'm still terrified to go all that way and receive anything but positive news. 

I've been in the early stages of pregnancy unsuccessfully more times than successfully. Twice I felt so positive and optimistic between my positive betas and ultrasounds only to get devastating news at an ultrasound appointment. I can't let myself feel that disappointment again. 

That's the hard part about all of this. I so badly wanted to be able to experience pregnancy like a normal fertile person. I'm quickly realizing that will never be the case. Someone who hasn't experienced loss can't understand the fear of it happening again. Immediately I also had to start injecting myself with medications three times a day. 

So, if you know me IRL and I haven't shared this news with you it's likely because I'm just not ready. It's nothing personal, it's just something I'm not really sharing with many people at this time. I'm hoping things will continue to progress, but I'm glad to have written it all down. I'm feeling ready to reclaim my blog as my space to voice it all.