Monday, August 24, 2009

Betas and Bugs

Leave it to an infertile to panic over good news. But when I called my doctor's office to get my beta results last Thursday, I went absolutely apoplectic because the numbers didn't double. They were:
Tue (4w5d): 6,881
Thu (4w7d): 10,110

The first thing I thought when the nurse read the numbers was, "wow, those sound like high numbers!" But then she said, with what sounded like misgiving, "well, they didn't double, but they did go up." Panic washed over me. They didn't double. I asked her if it made a difference that I took the first test in the afternoon, and the second test in the morning. She said that maybe it would make a difference, but probably hearing in my voice that I was going to be a bit neurotic, she asked if I wanted the doctor to call me back.


Well he did call me back, right away, and insisted that the numbers were very good.

"Yes, but they didn't double!"

He said, "They don't always double."

"Should I come in for another test before my ultrasound?"

Well, he didn't think it was necessary. He assured me that I was indeed very much pregnant, and nothing that I do or don't do between now and my next appointment would make a change, one way or the other. If I were to miscarry, he said, (reiterating that he was not worried that I would, but if I were going to) there wouldn't be anything to change it or stop it from happening. That didn't really make me feel any better, but I understood what he was saying. Then I believe he told me to relax and take it easy, or something like that but I probably couldn't hear him by that point because my ears were ringing and I felt like I was going to pass out.

I immediately consulted with Dr. Google, who actually made me feel a little better. Dr. Google let me know that above 6,000, the doubling time slows, and they may take up to 96 hours to double. Ok. Phew!

Of course I am analyzing every symptom, lack of symptom, possible symptom, or twinge down below. I am in fact, quite crampy right now and it is scaring me but I am trying to remind myself that it is most likely quite normal if my uterus is starting to grow. Right?

Of course, the next day after my phone call, I came down with a horrible bug. I was actually really sick last month, and I swear I just got better, but am thinking that maybe it was not completely out of my system. And, since I've been all worked up and not sleeping well, I relapsed. Then, Friday night I woke up at 1 a.m. with a lovely ear infection. For those of you who have never had one of these, well, think of being stabbed in the side of your head with an ice pick. Yeah. And of course I was too paranoid to take anything, even though I knew Ty.le.nol is supposed to be safe during pregnancy, so I really suffered all through the night.

I saw my regular doc Saturday morning who looked in my ear and said, "Ouch! Let's fix this." I told him I was 5 wks preggers and he assured me the antibiotics he was prescribing were safe for pregnancy. I trust him--and he knows how big of a deal it is that I'm pregnant.

But I worry about being so sick (and I am pretty miserable) while so newly pregnant. I worry about the passenger....

To make matters worse, I woke up this morning with a case of pink eye. Pink eye?!?!? WTF? I am not a teenager, who has been sharing makeup with all her friends in gym class. It's like all of a sudden every single virus or bacteria that could possibly attack my body has been let in with a formal invitation to wreak havoc.

Next ultrasound scheduled for Sept. 3rd--right before Labor Day. I don't know how I'm going to keep my sanity up until then!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the RE

So a few months ago, I went back to the RE. Did I tell you this already? I was going to, I swear. I just got busy.

I brought him all my new info from the surgery and latest labs. We had a good talk. I explained what our new (miniscule) fertility coverage was, and asked, "What should we do?" He thought we could (with the money we had with our coverage) do either: One IVF (and we still have to pay out of pocket for some of it) or 3-4 IUI's but this time with injectables. Hmmm. I waffled back and forth. Would IUI's be a waste of time? Should we put all our eggs (no pun intended) in one basket and go for it with the IVF? In the end, Mister and I decided to go with his advice and do the 3 or so IUI's. We did our bloodwork. Filled out paperwork, etc.. I was getting geared up to go and then.... the RE decided he wanted me to repeat the HSG. Yes, my gyno (Doctor Wonderful) did an HSG back when I had my lap, but there was some question as to whether the left tube was actually clear or not.

So then I got stuck in the mire of trying to get the insurance company to cover the HSG under 'diagnostic' and not take it out of our paltry IF coverage.

Anyway, I was going to do it last month, but the insurance pre-approval hadn't come through yet. So it got canceled.

So this month, take two. Pre-approval came through, but it was going to come out of our IF coverage. Grrrrrrrr.

I swear I was going to update on all of this when I actually had something interesting to tell you and something was actually happening.

I was waiting for my period to come last week so I could schedule the dreaded HSG.

Only it didn't come. And didn't come.

Oh shit. Menopause. Really? Just as we were finally going to start treatment. Tears were shed.

Until I discovered I was pregnant.


4w6d today. Ultrasound yesterday revealed a gestational sac and yolk sac measuring 4w3d. Awaiting beta results. I am constantly poking my boobs to make sure they are still sore and doing the TP check every time I go to the bathroom. Obviously, we have a way to go, and we have only told very close family.

Those of you who know me on Facebook or Twitter please don't mention anything about this because we are not ready to tell everyone.

Preggo symptoms come and go and I am very nervous.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Story With Handsome Man.

At least if I'm up at 3 in the morning I might as well catch up on some blogging. Work has been busy (which is a good thing--considering the economy) with wedding season in full swing. But that means I haven't had any time to my self these days to bloggedy-blog.

I don't know if anyone out there is still checking in since it has been over a month since my last post.... but here's what's up:

Handsome Man:

So in early June he was "kicked out" of the daycare that he had been attending since he was 10 months old. I came in to pick him up one day (on a Friday) and was told by the owner of the home-run daycare that she could no longer care for Handsome Man due to his 'behavior issues.' (Insert sound of loud gong going off in my head here). I was in shock but at the same time not totally surprised. (Which is totally contradictory I know). For a few months he'd been having some real problems with temper tantrums. We'd been working on it at home, but it had been even worse while he was in daycare. Now the thing is, my son is a BIG KID. As in, tall, muscle-y, strong. So when he's having a typical two year old tantrum, he can get pretty wild. It's like he doesn't know his own size and strength--so he'll just push over that chair, side table, plant, whatever is close--just to let you know how darn angry he is. I thought it was all just typical two year old stuff, you know. And I was worried about his acting out at daycare, but I had talked to the owner about it and I thought we were working on it together. She asked me how we disciplined him at home and I told her time-outs. She had even said several times herself, that 'oh it's just a phase it will pass' sort of thing. At this time he was also having a hard time sleeping; waking up screaming, crying wanting me to comfort him, as well as a real separation anxiety with me that I had never seen with him before. As I read in all 'The Books'--all normal stuff for his age. Anywhoo--I still had a feeling deep down in my gut that something else might be going on, that maybe it was more than surface deep, and I should have trusted my instincts from the get-go, but again I thought these problems were transitional and he would adapt. But here's what was making me go, hmmmm....

1. The daycare lady had an assistant. (Miss K.). HM was totally bonded to Miss K. She was the one who took care of him when he was a baby, and when he became a toddler she was the one who would tickle him, cuddle and rough house with him. He Looooovved Miss K. Then, Miss K became pregnant (wha) and started spending less and less time with the toddlers as her pregnancy grew, and more time with the infants which was a little easier on her physically, I'm sure.
2. His one friend that was his same age at daycare left the daycare.
3. HM turned 2--opening up another slot in the daycare for an infant. And, with his friend also gone, 2 more infants came into the daycare. So there were all these infants, and then a bunch of 3 and 4 year olds, and no one Handsome Man's own age. So they 'threw him in' with the 3-4 year olds. Then, suddenly, it was: no more crib at nap time, you sleep in a cot, no more bottle, no more highchair, etc. All good things for sure, but probably A LOT for him to adapt to, considering everything else that was going on.

Add to all the above that he was not up to speed verbally next to the 3-4 year olds, but expected to act and behave like they do, well, I can only imagine how FRUSTRATED he must have been on a daily basis--leading to, well, terrible temper tantrums.

It seemed like over the weekend Mister and I would work with him and work with him and his behavior would be much improved by the end of the weekend, through Monday, and then as soon as he went back to daycare on Tuesday it would slide back down hill again.

Of course I doubted myself and thought I was imagining things.

Now, the daycare owner (Miss C.) saw the situation differently. The last conversation I had with her went something like this:

Miss C.: Jennifer I don't know what is causing HM's problems, but the time-outs just aren't working.

Me: What else would you suggest trying?

Miss C: Well, I can't speak to that--I don't want to sound like I am trying to tell you how to raise your child. But, your parenting style is totally unique.

Me: What do you mean by 'unique'?

Miss C.: Well, I just see the way you pet and coddle and cajole him--and the time outs just aren't effective. Placing him on the couch or whatever and leaving him alone for 2 minutes just doesn't do anything. He just thinks it's funny.

Me: Okay, well what would you do differently?

Miss C: Well, I can't speak to that. But the other parents don't have these problems. None of the other children have these problems.

Me: Okay, well, what are these other parents doing that you see that I'm not doing?

(And I was being serious--I really wanted to know! Was there some discipline measure that I had overlooked? My 'unique' parenting style included time outs, but also getting down to his level and trying to talk to him about why certain behaviors were not okay--and trying to urge him to communicate with me when he was upset rather than throwing things or whatever. But I was struggling, for sure, and very open to hearing whatever the other parents were doing! If something else would be the magic bullet to solve the tantrums then by all means, lay it on me!)

Miss C.: Well, I can't say....but the other parents would NOT STAND for that behavior.

(By this point I felt like I was taking crazy pills.) Let me also state that at this point my son is clinging to me, his arms wrapped tightly around my neck with his head buried in my shoulder.

Let me also state as a side note, that in addition to the tantrums, he had recently started *hitting* which seemed to come from nowhere.

At this point in the conversation I can't remember what was said next, but I think my brain was starting to boil. But I seem to recall a bit more condescending about what a terrible parent I was and what an out of control child I was raising. A child that required some sort of mystery discipline technique that the other parents were using, but which I was not privy to.

As I walked away toward my car with my child clinging to me, a thought crept in through the back of my mind: Is she suggesting I should HIT MY CHILD?


I mean, where did all this stem from all of a sudden, especially Handsome Man's hitting behavior?

I will never know. But I feel sick at the thought of the possibility.

Still, I worried that I was being hysterical, and that the problem really did lie with me. I thought-- wow! In two short years I've managed to totally screw up my child! My Parent-of-the- Year Award should be arriving in the mail any day now!!

So--I took Handsome Man home with me. I brought in the help of a good friend to help me juggle work and watching Handsome Man with no daycare. My friend Jess was a total God-send. And Mister and I 'brought down the hammer' with a no-way policy on 1.Hitting, and 2.Throwing (objects). We knew he would still throw tantrums, but he needed to know that hitting and throwing were not okay. And what did we do? Our unique parenting style of time-outs, and I suppose more "coddling and cajoling" with trying to get down to his level and communicate the reasons for the time outs. But the other thing we did--the thing I think he was starved of at his daycare--was give him lots and lots and lots of POSITIVE reinforcement. He did something we liked? We showered him with praise. He got angry but didn't throw his toys? Good Job, Handsome Man! He said "please"? Oh! I really like the way you said 'please'! We were pretty over the top with it. We probably sounded like idiots to anyone who heard us. But you know what? It worked.

Within a week or so the "bad" behaviors had diminished by about 80%.

And I started looking for a new daycare. After all, I couldn't keep up the working (in the middle of my busiest time of year!) and keeping HM home. But I worried: What if he gets kicked out of the new daycare within a couple of weeks? What will I do?

I thought maybe, just maybe if some of my instincts were right, then perhaps a more structured setting, where he would be in a "class" with just kids his own age, might be better for him?

I interviewed one of those "corporatey-franchise" places that was near my new office. I explained everything to the director of the school, and she seemed very open on working together with me and Handsome Man on any issues. She assured me there would be ongoing, continuous communication between the teacher and me, and I would definitely have warning if it got to the point that Handsome Man would be asked to leave the school.

I asked her how they handled discipline. This was very important to me. Guess what? They stressed getting down to the child's level, explaining why something was not okay, and if necessary, time-outs. They stressed building communication between the kids, too. So if one kid grabbed something from another kid, for instance, they would first tell them no, then explain why, then see if they could get the kids to play together, or share, etc.. WOW! Kind of sounded like what I was already doing at home: me and my 'unique' parenting style. Hmmm....

So he has been in his new "school" for over a month. His behaviors have disappeared. He is happy, smiley, and excited to go to school to see his friends and his teacher. He loves Miss L., his teacher. At first he would cry when I dropped him off in the morning, but his teacher assured me it was only for a few minutes and he was quickly involved in play and activities. Now he runs down the hall to his class, and usually the other kids will run up to him and give him hugs. It is so cute! His teacher says he is doing great. And it's 5 minutes away from my office--between my office and my house! Yay! I love it! He's happy, so I'm happy.

I'd like to go back to the old daycare and punch that lady in the face--but that's just me.