Archives for posts with tag: Ultrasound

Pardon the pun. It’s my coping mechanism currently.

I went for the high resolution ultrasound today, fully expecting them to find the bright bowel was a mere blip from old, crappy machinery.

No such luck.

Bright bowel is still there, and after an incredibly thorough ultrasound, the perninatologist went over the results with me. He said the brightness was visible through the whole bowel, though still sounded confident that it was very likely nothing. He went over my options, and sent me for blood work to be tested for infections and cystic fibrosis. If my CF test comes back negative, that’s the end of that story. If I come back as a carrier of a CF strand, J will then need a blood test to see if he’s a carrier, too. I guess it’s only if both parents are carriers of a CF strand that there’s a chance the baby will be born with it. The doctor says the chances are like 1% of cases–he’s only seen one birth with echogenic bowel that resulted in cystic fibrosis. He said the chances of infection are really low, as well, as he saw no other symptoms of infection in the ultrasound.

So that brings us to the big one: Downs Syndrome. As I mentioned yesterday, echogenic¬† bowel is a soft marker for DS. The doctor talked about the options that were open to us if we wanted to continue testing (amnio), though said this is really only a recommendation when the chances are greater than a 1 in 200 chance (greater than? less than? I hope you know what I mean). We’re just above that. As a result of our blood work and our NT scan, Baby B had about a 1 in 1600 chance of having DS. Echogenic bowel increases your odds 6 fold, so we’re sitting at about a 1 in 250 chance (the doctor did the math–I trust his more than my own). He said the risks connected to the amnio are nearly on par with the actual chances of finding Downs, and frankly, I’m not prepared to do an amnio at this point. And really…what are we going to do about it at this point?

The doctor kept repeating that he saw no other markers for Downs, and that both babies are growing really well. That was comforting.

Then came the news about Baby B’s kidney situation. Neither him nor his ultrasound tech could find Baby B’s left kidney, leading them to believe that this kid will likely be born with 1 kidney only. Not the end of the world, he explained, but I felt like a frigging truck hit me over.

There is still a chance that they’ll find the kidney at another scan, but they couldn’t see anything this time, nor could they see any blood vessels going to it. Again, the doctor didn’t seem concerned and said there are no real health issues related to people born with 1 kidney. It’s very common, blah blah blah.

All I could think about, though, was SERIOUSLY? Haven’t we been through enough? It’s like this whole stupid roller coaster never ends. As soon as I start to feel comfortable and settle into this pregnancy, I’m bowling-balled with shitty news. I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself today, and am just hoping against hope that we go for a future ultrasound and everything is magically okay. I appreciate the fact that the doctor was so positive about everything, but I just want two perfectly healthy babies. A lot to ask, I guess.

Ugh. This parenthood thing is hard, and these babies aren’t even born yet.

-Wishing things were easier Family Van.

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We had another OB/GYN appointment today, which I was anxiously awaiting for after our growth ultrasound two weeks ago. I had it done at the same lab that did our anatomy scan, with the same tech, so I was pretty comfortable with the routine. The tech was great both times, though this most recent one was a little harrowing.

Everything seemed to be chugging along as usual–I wasn’t nearly as anxious as I was for the anatomy scan. We knew everything was there and was okay. As far as I was concerned, this ultrasound was just to make sure both babies were “sharing nicely”, as my OB/GYN always says. Sometimes twins can be resource hogs, I guess, and one takes all the good stuff away from the other. From all I’ve read, that’s more common with identical twins, as they share more stuff in utero, but anyway…

So she was scanning my belly and using an unusually large amount of jelly on my belly (it rhymes!), but this happened last time, too. I was digging that stuff out of crevices for hours. I’m pretty sure when my belly button finally pops out, so will all kinds of dried up ultrasound goo. Delicious. Anyway, she started with Baby A, as per usual, with nothing too exciting to report. Baby B’s scan seemed fine, until the end. She said she needed to go show something to the doctor on staff.

Um…what? Can you fill me in here, lady?

She asked me to de-pants myself while she was gone so she could measure my cervix, so I was lying there, pants-less and afraid, but trying not to spazz. She said nothing when she came back, and proceeded with the dildo cam. I felt so used. So cold. So sticky from all that ultrasound jelly.

She sent me off with more pictures, including two updated 3D pictures of the babies’ faces, but again, Baby B looked like a Melty Face. Baby A is getting cuter and cuter, which makes me hope even more they’re not the same gender.

So let’s skip ahead past the 2 weeks of imagining the worst and waiting for a phone call from my doctor telling me some awful news. When none arrived, I figured nothing was actually wrong with the scan, so I could relax.

Wrong. Well, sort of.

My doctor told me today that Baby B showed a spot of “bright bowel” on the ultrasound, or echogenic bowel syndrome, if you want to be fancy about it. He said he sees it all the time, it’s super common, and he’s not concerned. I wish I could say the same. He said possibilities for causes could be that the baby drank blood (am I housing two tiny vampires?), has an infection, or it was a crappy ultrasound machine. Echogenic bowel syndrome is also a “soft marker” for chromosomal defects, I was told, though the doctor feels that with the great results we got from the NT scan and blood work, the chances of something like this are tiny, tiny, tiny.

Still there, though, so…freaking out a little.

Tomorrow morning I’ll go for a high resolution ultrasound with a perinatologist at the hospital. The good news: I’ll get results right away from the doctor conducting the ultrasound. J asked about whether we should be worried about Baby B’s melty face. Our doctor suggested I ask the doctor tomorrow for a better picture, but assured us he’s never delivered a baby “with no face”.

Ugh.

So bottom line is this: dull bowels are happy bowels. Fingers crossed for the dullest bowels ever tomorrow, for everyone concerned.

Baby B Baby A

-Fingers crossed Family Van.

Today was frigging terrifying.

The day started out normally enough, though I didn’t get a seat on the subway and it was so hot in there. I kept taking off layers of clothes, but still felt like I was on fire. The roads were super icy, too, so the bus I take to complete my commute detoured, as the main street was closed due to buses sliding down it. I took my usual bus nap, and woke up thinking, “Where the hell am I?”. I got to school a lot later than normal, but so did a lot of people. The roads were a mess.

Things continued to chug along, and despite an indoor recess due to…snow?…everything was normal. At the beginning of the period before lunch, though, I felt a little gush, like the discharge I used to feel from the progesterone suppositories, but I hadn’t felt that in quite a while. I thought it odd, but that was it. Then I felt another one. Then another one. This continued for most of the 50 minute period, and I started to freak out a bit. What was going on down there? I had to wait until lunch to find out that I was bleeding quite heavily. When I went to the washroom, I also passed two small, but still there clots, and proceeded to lose my mind a little bit. All I could think about was that I was losing my babies, and I didn’t know what to do.

I called J, who was a total superstar during this whole ordeal, and he jumped in a cab to meet me at school. Of course, today would be the day that the roads would lead to major traffic delays, but he got there. I had a hell of a time trying to get a hold of my doctor, but when I did, he told me to come to the clinic.

The cab ride there felt like an eternity, and I worried that I was going to leave a huge bloody puddle on the seat of the cab. I’m pretty sure I didn’t, but I also didn’t check. Once we got to the clinic, we waited for a really long time to see the doctor, at which point he told us to have an ultrasound done, which we waited for, as well. At this time of the day at the clinic, they are running the full pelvic ultrasounds for pregnant women (I’m assuming), so all of the ultrasound rooms were taken, and those exams take a really long time.

I should say at this point, though, that had we gone to the hospital, I probably wouldn’t have even seen anyone by now, 4 hours after this whole ordeal began.

The ultrasound tech who saw me is awesome, and even before I went in, she asked if I wasn’t expecting this. I had no idea what she was talking about, but when we got into the ultrasound room, she showed me on my chart that they had found a small subchorionic hematoma (SCH) on my last ultrasound. My doctor hadn’t mentioned it, likely because it was so small he didn’t think anything would come of it. The tech assured me my babies were going to be just fine, and bet me I’d be giving her a hug after she was finished the ultrasound.

She got her hug.

The babies are both fine, have both grown since Monday’s ultrasound, and everything is okay. The doctor spoke with me and explained that the size of the SCH is maybe the size of two peas, while the pregnancy is the size of a small melon at this point. He’s not concerned, and is quite confident most of the SCH is gone, though I may experience more bleeding over the next week. I’ve been instructed to “rest” (i.e., continue watching Frasier on Netflix obsessively), and not to lift anything heavy. He didn’t like the weight of my knapsack, and I was told I have to start taking it easy, whatever that means.

I’m finally breathing normally again, but holy shit, this was one of the scariest experiences of my life. All I wanted was for those two sweet babies to be okay, and they are. I’m not religious, but I am so, so, so very thankful that today turned out the way it did. I thought for sure this was it, that today would mark the worst day of my life, and it’s overwhelming to think of how lucky J and I are that things are going well.

-So Very Thankful Family Van

 

Today marks ten weeks. Those tiny buddies are growing bigger and stronger everyday.

We had an ultrasound today, and saw baby b moving around. Baby a was spread eagled facing the camera…pretty funny. They’re looking more like tiny people and less like blobby goobers. I’m thankful for this.

So far, everything is looking great. Both babies are measuring at exactly ten weeks. Can’t really beat that. Heartbeats looked good today–171 and 180.

Warning! Poop talk ahead! Not for the squeamish!
In terms of symptoms, I’ve had very little of anything that might suggest I’m preggers. I was super bloated last week, which got me excited over my adorable baby belly–until I had a night of rip roaring farts and a couple of good poops and the belly was gone. No one really warned me about the havoc pregnancy wreaks on your digestive system. Oh my. Constipation is in full effect, and having a poop is pretty much the greatest thing ever these days. My doctor asked what I was doing about it. Uh…waiting? I’m not a big pill popper, so I tend to just ride things out. He suggested I try Colace, which I have done exactly once, as the result was a severely clogged toilet. It was like weeks worth of waste just flowed from me. A bit shocking, really. I’m not feeling ready to open those flood gates again quite yet.
End of poop talk.

I’ve been super tired, but on a weird, weird schedule. I take little naps over the lunch hour, using my mittens as pillows, which inevitably results in Mitten Face. I fall asleep promptly upon returning home, and it’s all I can do to shove some food down my throat that passes for dinner. But then I’m up until 12:00+, which is not normal. Usually, I don’t nap but I’m in bed by ten, eleven at the latest. It’s driving my early bed time husband crazy.

My appetite is off, too. All of the foods I once found delicious are gag-inducing at the moment. I would have taken a good spicy shrimp curry any day, and yet even as I type those words, I feel like I’m going to retch. All I wanted were fish tacos last week, but now the thought of those turns my stomach. Weird.

The nausea is there, though I haven’t puked yet. I’m not generally a puker, though, so I’m not overly surprised that I haven’t experienced this particular delight of pregnancy yet.

Generally, I feel great. People keep telling me I’m glowing, though I’m chalking that up to finally opening up the new thing of bronzer I’ve had sitting around instead of using those little left over crumbs. I’m drinking a buttload of water, too. That probably helps.

So overall, things are awesome. I’m so thankful for two happy growing babies in my belly, for still feeling human through all of this, and for a pretty super husband who has been more than a little neglected. I need to do something kind for him. He deserves it.

Progesterone and Estrace stop next week, which is a little anxiety inducing, but that’s a story for another time. Synthroid dosage is being doubled Monday and Friday, though TSH levels were tested today so that may change.

NT scan booked for February 12th. Won’t see the babies again until then. It’s amazing how much I love little blobby goobers already…

In other news, anyone have any recommendations for twin strollers? I’m thinking Phil and Ted’s Promenade. The Bugaboo Donkey looks like a behemoth, and apparently, we all hate big strollers here in Toronto.

-Full Of Love (and babies) Family Van

This morning, I had my first ultrasound post BFP. I thought I was going to puke from the moment I woke up until the moment I saw the ultrasound tech’s face break into a smile.

I should clarify that I have experienced no real morning sickness up to this point, only mild nausea. The pukiness could definitely not be blamed on that.

We’ve got two beautiful looking blobs growing in my uterus. Two beautiful strong beating hearts, and I am so, so, so thankful that today’s ultrasound turned out the way it did. I know we’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re further out than we were before today’s results.

Both babies are measuring at 7 weeks 1 day, which is exactly where I am pregnancy-wise. Heart rates were right where they should be, at 121 and 130. My doctor said the number was pretty insignificant as long as it was over 110.

I’m back next Tuesday for another ultrasound, and booked in for my NT scan on February 12th. Until then, I’m going to do all I can to make sure these sweet little blobs have the coziest home possible.

Hooray!!

-The Family Van

Cycle monitoring – Cycle Day 10 – Duration: About 2 hours

Blood work, ultrasound, doctor. Rinse, repeat.

I’m totally old hand at this. I have even learned to walk quickly out of the elevator, as that will get me on that ultrasound list ASAP (longest wait of all 3 aspects of cycle monitoring).

I was feeling pretty good while waiting for my cycle monitoring today. J and I had a nice weekend together–we had a spat on Sunday, but talked about it and it was nice to connect emotionally and have some tender time reminding each other how much we love the other.

Then I met with the doctor. He explained at length why I had seen a different doctor last Sunday (I wasn’t really bothered, actually), and then proceeded to look through my chart to see if any new results were in (there weren’t any). He said he wanted to talk about J’s sperm, and I told him that J had super sperm, of course, just like he’d told us last time. Well, turns out he isn’t as super as we had thought. The DNA frag assay came back at 15.9%–“normal” is under 15. He didn’t seem overly concerned, but said that often when there is an issue on both the women and men’s side, telling people when to have sex doesn’t always cut it. We may need to try what’s called an IUI, and that’s when…

I’m going to stop you right there, doctor.

“We tried that last month. It didn’t work.”

Oh…rrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiigggggggghhhhhhhtttttttt…

I know the doctor sees about a bazillion people, but that put me off a little bit. He even did the IUI! I felt slightly offended that my vajayjay didn’t stand out from the thousands he’s likely seen.

Anyway, he said it was still early days, so he doesn’t want to see me again until Thursday. I left feeling slightly deflated, and wondered what had happened to the positivity I had felt earlier.

Lately, my emotions have been somewhat yo-yoish. I may be experiencing the Clomid mood swings, but who knows. I think I’ve already referenced Kristen Bell on my blog, but I’m doing it again. If I’m not between a 4 and a 6 emotionally, I am in tears. This is my life, the life of a delicate flower. Please watch this if you haven’t already:

So Yo Yo Ma! That’s how I’ve been feeling lately.

Blah.

-Yo Yo Regular Van.

Cycle monitoring – Cycle day 3 – Duration: about 4 hours (wait time nearly 3 hours)

So I went for my first cycle monitoring session last week. Here’s what it entailed:

I arrived at the clinic about 8:30 with a coffee in hand, knowing I was going to have another ultrasound so I would need a full bladder. I knew I also had to have more blood work done. When I entered the clinic, I was shocked at the number of people around me. The place was rammed. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Who in the hell is having babies on their own?”. It was comforting and disturbing at the same time: lots of people in our boat=good – we’re not the only ones; lots of people in our boat=bad – why are so many people struggling?

I put my name down on the sign-up sheets for blood work and ultrasounds, and found a comfortable place to settle. The number I drew for my ultrasound was a looooooong way away. Soon after writing my name, I was called for my blood work. They drew way less this time than they did during my initial appointment.

I returned to the waiting room to continue waiting for my ultrasound. I downed my coffee, wondering if I should even be drinking it (were people judging me?), and then drank a bunch of cups of water. I waited and waited and waited…with a full bladder. Not fun.

After probably an hour and a half of waiting, I was called for the ultrasound. When I got in the room, I was surprised to learn that it would be transvaginal.

Here’s where the squeamish should stop reading.

Cycle monitoring starts on Day 3 of your period. Ladies, I’m sure you can understand my confusion when the tech used “transvaginal” and “day 3” in the same sentence. I told her I had a tampon in, and she told me to pull it out and put it in the garbage in the ultrasound room. Uh…I consider myself pretty easy going, but I had some issues with that. I guess a fertility centre is no place for the bashful.

I also told her I had a full bladder. She seemed annoyed that I didn’t know this ultrasound was transvaginal, and sighed very loudly before telling me to go to the washroom.

When I returned, no one was there. No one continued to be there for a good 10 minutes. Another technician came in, apologized for no one being there, and then asked if I had put what can best be described as a puppy pee pad on the exam table. No, it was here already, I told her, and wondered if they often had women rummaging through their pee pad stash.

The ultrasound was way less gross than I had anticipated (I was pretty much expecting Niagara Falls with blood), and I then returned to the waiting room. Between the blood work and the ultrasound, I asked at the desk whether I needed to sign up to see the doctor, too. The receptionist informed me that, yes, each visit includes a chat with your doctor.

So I waited again. This time: maybe 45 minutes.

The doctor called me in and put me in another waiting room, where I sat for 15 minutes or so, and had a nice chat with a woman who was there receiving treatment for a second child. It was great to talk to someone who had been through the process once before, and who was returning years later. Her case sounded pretty complicated, with both herself and her husband having issues. That comforted me to know that despite the challenges, the doctors here at Create had a good handle on what she needed.

The doctor then called me in to a room, and asked me to wait there, which I did, for a little over half an hour. I wondered for a while whether they had forgotten about me, but I didn’t say anything. Inside the room was a rolling chest of drawers, with the drawers labelled “Pap swabs”, “STD kits”, and “Chlamydia”.

Why would anyone go in the chlamydia drawer???

Finally, the doctor came in and we chatted. He didn’t really remember who I was, which was okay with me, since I’d only met him once before. He looked at my chart (blood work and ultrasounds, I think), and he reiterated that he believed I have PCOS. He talked about clomid again as a way to get things going, and his confidence convinced me to give it a try. He reminded me about the hysterosalpingogram (HSG), which I booked for the Thursday of the following week.

Our meeting was brief, and he warned me that the clomid might cause mood swings. My life is kind of a huge mood swing, so I wasn’t overly concerned. He seemed more concerned for Jon :).

I took the clomid for 5 days with my biggest meal of the day.

As for the mood swings? You’ll have to ask my husband about that.

Next post: the dreaded HSG.

Duh, duh, DUUUUUUUUUUUH!

-Still Regular Van

Here’s how our first appointment went:

Appointment 1 – Cycle day 30 – Duration: about 2 hours

The appointment started with a pelvic ultrasound (scanner goes on the belly), which required a full bladder. After a trip to the toilet to empty my bladder (“Make sure you get everything out”, said the technician. Uh…what?), next came the transvaginal ultrasound. The camera is shaped like a wand, which is covered with a condom, and then the technician takes images of your uterus and ovaries while it’s inside you. It’s mildly uncomfortable, but no big deal at all.

After those procedures, we waited to speak with the doctor. Covering the walls of the waiting room were photographs of babies and thank you letters to the various doctors at the clinic. While I’m sure the idea behind it was to provide patients with a sense of hope (“See? These people all had problems, too, and now they’ve got babies!”), it seemed like an especially awful kind of hell to have to sit there with a reminder of what my body was incapable of producing.

I should mention I was on the verge of tears for most of this portion of the appointment. The ultrasound technician asked if I was alright, which is a question that, for some reason, often brings me to tears, but I managed to keep it together. I was really nervous about crying in front of the doctor, so I tried to avoid looking at any of those frigging baby pictures. At this point, we still didn’t know if it was physically possible for us to have kids. Stress rate=high. Babies everywhere=not helping aforementioned stress rate.

The doctor started off by asking me a whole pile of questions about my periods (long and painful, but predictable), my family (awesome and healthy, but a history of painful periods), past pregnancies (none)

and then a whole bunch of questions about hair.

Have I ever had to wax, receive electrolysis or laser hair removal on my face, around my nipples, abdomen, toes…

What is happening? The only time I’ve thought about body hair is when I noticed my husband lacks any hair on his arms. I am not a hairy person. I have no facial hair (in fact, I barely have eyebrows), and I think it’s safe to say my boobs have been hairless my whole life.

Where in the hell did those questions come from? I didn’t expect them, and I feel like I was pretty prepared for what we would be discussing.

Our doctor told us that as we answer questions, he flags answers that he thinks might be clues for why we’re suffering (a very suitable word) from primary infertility.

After all the hair questions, it was my husband’s turn. He had significantly fewer questions to answer than I did, but it was nice to relax for a little bit.

When we were done giving our answers, the doctor explained that this process is sort of like a guessing game where he rules out possibilities for why things aren’t happening as they should be. He showed us the images from the ultrasounds, saying that my ovaries were well-stocked with what seemed like good quality eggs. I do not have ovarian cancer (which I was a little more than slightly paranoid about), and I had ovulated from the left this month (I knew it–I always feel it on the left). He suspected my diagnosis would be either PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or endometriosis. The doctor kept referring to the Bearded Lady in relation to PCOS, and that I would likely disagree with his diagnosis if I read about it on the internet.

(Fast forward to us returning home and me investigating PCOS–doctor was right. I have like zero symptoms of this spectrum disorder).

Anyway, we came up with a plan and decided we would continue to try naturally while doing “cycle monitoring”, which would require me to come for semi-regular blood work and ultrasounds throughout my cycle to see what’s going on. The doctor discussed Clomid briefly as another course of action if the case for PCOS was strengthened.

We were sent off to get blood work done, and I was told to call the clinic on day 1 of my period to book an appointment for an HSG test (hysterosalpingogram), which are done between day 5 and day 10 of your cycle. The doctor warned me some people experienced severe pain during this test, so I was hoping it wouldn’t be necessary.

We left the appointment feeling positive and like we were finally getting somewhere. We still needed to get sperm tested for good swimmers and fallopian tubes tested for blockages, but we were on our way to finding answers, and hopefully, a solution.

Our doctor is incredibly positive and as a result, so am I. Maybe something is actually going to happen now.

-Hairless Regular Van.