Miracle Babies’ Upcoming Birthday

Holy crap, you guys. The twins are almost a year old. 

What the heck happened to my tiny little babies? It seems like it was just a little bit ago that they were so tiny. And then they got so chubby. And now they’re crawling and starting to thin out a bit. 

It’s been an amazing year. So many milestones, so much learned (by them and by me!), and so much love. Overflowing with love and giggles and joy.

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, MLK Jr. Day, was Mr.E’s mTESE surgery. As you know, the surgery failed and zero sperm were retrieved. We received a diagnosis of Sertoli Cell Only. We were devastated and felt the death of lifelong dreams.

Today, we are 31w2d pregnant with boy/girl twins. We got to go to the hospital for a non stress test today and heard baby girl having hiccups 🙂 It was so cute!!

So much can happen in a year! A year ago, I thought I could never be happy again. Today, I can see so much happiness in our future. I see joy, love, family, and a stronger marriage.

I have so much gratitude for the doctors who helped us, for the love and support we’ve received from family members, for the gift of life we received from my BIL, our sperm donor. I have so much gratitude for them because of the happiness I see in Mr.E’s face. His eyes light up so often now! He says how excited he is to hold both of the babies and shows me how he’s going to coo and talk to them. And today, his eyes were so bright and full of joy when he heard baby girl’s hiccups. I hope I remember that look on his face for the rest of my life. It was priceless!

I started this blog to help people on their azoospermia journey to fulfill their dreams of having biological children. Without deviating from that goal, I want to convey that there is happiness, joy, even bliss to be found even if the ultimate goal of finding sperm is not reached. So much happiness!

IVF #3 – 19 Weeks 0 Days – Halfway Point

Funny how time changes things. Sometimes I find myself in awe that this is actually happening. When we go for ultrasounds, I have a tiny suspicion that it’s fake.

We went for our anatomy scan yesterday. The babies are 10oz and 11oz. Baby A is a GIRL! And Baby B is a BOY!!

Because it seems too good to be true, I find myself imagining all the things that could go wrong. For example, physical things with the babies like pre-term labor, pre-eclampsia, knots in their cords, blood clots, etc. And then after they’re born, what if my BIL, our donor, goes psycho and decides he wants custody or something crazy. We never had him sign any legal documents.

I guess the worries never end. But I’m grateful we get to have the worries. Every day that they’re alive and kicking is a day to celebrate! And that’s what we’re trying to do every day!

Worrying while TTC

From even before the moment we decided to pray about whether or not it was time to time to start trying to start our family, I worried.

I worried about money, how I was going to continue running my company with kids running around, how Mr.E would be able to study (he’s still in school), if we would have trouble trying to get pregnant (nah! That will never happen to me!), my other medical conditions and how pregnancy would affect them, and so on.

And then we never got a BAM! revelation that it was time to start trying. It was just that one day we felt more confident in our abilities and the worries seemed less relevant. So I made the appointment to get my IUD removed.

Then a new worry started. Did it work? Did we time it right? Are these stupid OPKs and HPTs working???

By the time the second month of TTC ended, I knew there was something wrong. Call it crazy, or woman’s intuition, or whatever you want. I knew that something wasn’t right. So for the third month I found a doctor to test my basic levels during my cycle. They seemed ok. But I still just knew something wasn’t right. I could feel it. And I worried about it. A LOT.

After talking to an RE, he suggested getting Mr.E’s sperm count checked. Just in case. And to put my fears at rest.

So, on September 11, 2012 we went to get the semen analysis. I truly did not think anything would come of it, other than some reassurance that all was well. Imagine my surprise when I got that phone call on September 18, 2012. I will never forget that.

Whatever I used to think “worrying” meant was so lame compared to the way I felt then. And I haven’t stopped worrying since! Oh I’ve tried to stop. There have been times I’ve felt at peace and confident with our decisions, but for the most part I’ve worried. Even now, I worry about how I’ll explain a sperm donor to our kids.

I wish I could stop. I remind myself of quotes like, “Worry is a misuse of the imagination.”

Today I came across this one and wanted to share it with you all. I hope it helps you make the choice to stop worrying, even if only for a day. Be a little stronger today!


IVF #3 – 14 Weeks 4 Days Pregnant

In 10 days I’ll get another ultrasound. It’s been 12 days since my last ultrasound. Frankly, I have no idea how fertiles do it. How do they wait MONTHS between opportunities to see their babies? I guess if it was me, i would pay money every few weeks at one of those ultrasound places in the mall. In fact, I’ve considered doing that already. After this three week wait between ultrasounds, I have another three week wait for the next one. That one will be the anatomy and gender scan! Four weeks and two days!

We’re going to have the ultrasound tech write the genders on paper and out them in an envelope. Then our friend is going to make cakes and we’ll find out the genders at the same time as everyone else!! OMG I can’t wait!

Right now, they don’t feel much like babies in my belly. I mean, I know in my mind that they are there and I see them moving during ultrasounds, but I haven’t felt them moving yet. And right now I kind of feel like a baby sitter or an emotionally invested incubator. I hope when we hear the genders I’ll start thinking of them as my sons or daughters. Did that make any sense at all?

Oh yeah and the other reason I know they’re there is because my stomach is huge. Large and in charge. My mom said I’m going to have to lie to people about about my due date if we’re not going to tell them about the twins because nobody is this big at 14 weeks. We’re keeping the twins a secret until the gender reveal party! But seriously. My waist is 46 inches. Forty six. (BTW – 48 inches is 4 feet. Holy crap.) Not complaining, just observing.

I hoped to have something interesting to write after my last ultrasound 12 days ago. It was actually my NT scan (nuchal translucency). They did an ultrasound and some blood work. Unfortunately, they couldn’t give me any results yet because the blood work has two parts and they have to be done 4 weeks apart. No results until the second set of blood work comes back. I swear, pregnancy is a LOT of hurry up and wait, over and over again. I’ll do the second half of the blood work the second week of October. I’ll get a good detailed post for that!

Hope everyone out there is doing well. I think about you guys, my readers, all the time. Wondering how you’re doing, what stage of the azoospermia/infertility journey you are in, how you feel, and how you’re handling it all. Feel free to drop a comment any time to catch us up on your story, to rant and rage when needed, and to share any and all successes!

Metformin and Thyroid Testing

This is huge. Wonderful breakthrough for advocates for proper thyroid testing. And for patients with PCOS or type 2 diabetes who are also experiencing recurrent miscarriage.

Today this study came out that proves that while taking Metformin (used for type 2 diabetes, PCOS, and other conditions), your TSH is artificially suppressed.

When TSH is low, doctors assume you are hyperthyroid (hyper meaning too much) or that you are taking too much thyroid medication. They want to adjust your dosage based on your TSH.

Or worse, your TSH level shows up right in the middle of the range and your doctor says, “It’s normal. You don’t need any thyroid medication.” But in reality, your TSH is artificially low because you’re taking metformin. So you continue walking around overweight, tired, with dry skin and a growing bald patch on your head.

If you are taking metformin, your doctor MUST NOT use TSH to find the right dose for you. He must use Free T3 and Free T4.

To learn more about proper testing of thyroid hormones, whether you take metformin or not, go to Stop the Thyroid Madness.

IVF #3 – 12 Weeks 2 Days Pregnant – Kate Middleton

You guys. Did you hear? The big news networks confirmed she’s pregnant. The “news” I wrote about here seems like it might have been true, but might have been a little early if she’s not 12 weeks yet. I did get it from tabloids.

Anyway. Do you know what this means?! I’m due before she is! She stopped stealing my life and my babies! Yay! I feel like the curse has been lifted!

IVF #3 – 10 Weeks 6 Days Pregnant – IVF Clinic Graduation

We graduated from our IVF clinic today! There was no ceremony, but it was a bitter sweet moment saying goodbye to the doctor. We’ve really come to love the doctors and nurses at the clinic. It’s strange to think we won’t see them again until we’re ready to have more kids! I rest easier at night knowing our two little frosty embabies are in good hands there. I look forward to seeing them again!

We had an ultrasound today, our 5th one for the pregnancy. Both babies looked good. At first I was scared because they weren’t moving and wiggling like they did last time, but then I saw their little blinking hearts. It had only been 7 days since the previous ultrasound, but my imagination goes crazy in between. My morning sickness got much worse at exactly 10w0d, so I’ve been taking a third dose of my B6+Unisom cocktail. I worried I was hurting the babies all week, but felt much better today after seeing them.

The next ultrasound will probably be two weeks from today at the nuchal translucency (NT) scan. I haven’t researched it much, but apparently they measure the fold of skin at the back of the babies’ necks and then that measurement along with some bloodwork gives you a probability score of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality like trisomy 18 or trisomy 21. Most insurance companies will pay for this scan and for the gender and anatomy scan around 20 weeks.

If we were pregnant with a singleton then getting Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) like MaterniT21 or Panorama would be an option. Those are done around 10 weeks, test for the more chromosomal abnormalities, and can also tell you the gender of the baby! Insurance will not usually pay for this unless you are over 35 years old, but if you want to know early you can pay for it out of pocket.

I worry my blog is boring or less relevant to the TTC infertility world now that I only have pregnancy updates. I really hope the nausea comes to an end soon because I have some post ideas about azoospermia and pesticides, azoospermia and endocrine disruptors like BPA and triclosan, azoospermia and stem cells, etc. that I really want to work on and get uploaded.

IVF #3 – 9 Weeks 0 Days

I had a funny dream last night. I dreamt that Mr.E slept with someone else and he had to tell me because she got pregnant. Of course I was very upset and I kicked him out.

As he was leaving I realized all of a sudden, “Wait a minute. She got pregnant? That means he has sperm!!!” So I ran after him trying to catch up to him to tell him to stop and come back.

Now that I’m awake I think it’s funny that I forgave the infidelity so instantly just because he had sperm 🙂

On the TTC front, we don’t get to see the babies again until Friday, 9w6d. That appointment is with a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor. I hope I like the doctor because I wasn’t thrilled with the regular OB. He has an obsession with just looking at TSH for hypothyroid. The TSH test is a joke.

Anyway, then the following week we’ll have an appointment with the IVF clinic. If things are still going smoothly, we’ll be released and sent on our way!

IVF #3 – 8 Weeks 2 Days Pregnant – Morning Sickness

I used to want to be a spy for the CIA. I even learned Arabic after 9/11 and then applied. They rejected my application, but they didn’t give an explanation why. I think the CIA knew something about me then that I just learned about myself. They must have known that if I was captured by the enemy, the enemy wouldn’t even have to torture me to get information. All they’d have to do is make me nauseated and I would give it all up. I would tell them anything and everything they would ever want to know just for a little relief.

My real morning sickness started the evening of 6w6d, just over 9 days ago. Within a few short days of writhing in bed 24 hours a day and me begging whoever would listen to make it stop, an evil part of my brain reminded me that a miscarriage could make it stop. This is how I know I’d give up all my spy secrets if the enemy made me nauseated. Who spends over $80,000, invests thousands of hours in research and doctor appointments, and immeasurable amounts of heartache to make a baby and then after 3 days of nausea begs for it to come to an end?

Do I actually want a miscarriage to make it stop? Of course not. But in the midst of my agony I couldn’t seem to make those thoughts of sweet relief stop entering my brain. And that’s how I knew that my goal of an unmedicated pregnancy would come to an end. I love the babies and my biggest fear is that something bad will happen to one or both of them. But if I’m imagining a miscarriage as “sweet relief” I need to make some changes.

On Friday (7w6d) I discovered this article about vitamin B6 and Unisom. I sent Mr.E to Walgreens and took half a Unisom tablet in the morning. I had my first OB appointment that afternoon. There was NO way I was going to be able to make it to that appointment. I was in too much misery. But the Unisom made it possible! We got to see the babies again, this time via my very first abdominal ultrasound.

Doxyalamine, the active ingredient in Unisom, is pregnancy Category A, which basically means it’s one of our safest options. None of the Rx meds for nausea and vomiting are category A. Zofran is Category B and Phenergan is Category C. Even though I desperately wanted a medication-free pregnancy, I view the Unisom as definitely the lesser of many evils and certainly preferable to the nightmare and heartache of a miscarriage.

If you get nausea after you get that elusive BFP, don’t let it get so bad that you’re looking for sweet relief in all the wrong places. Talk to your doctor about trying the B6 and Unisom combination.

UPDATE: 8/11/14 @ 6pm
When we were still in the thick of things trying to find sperm and figure out why there weren’t any, I used to get so annoyed with whiny pregnant people on FB. I would think, “You ungrateful little brat! How dare you complain! Don’t you have any clue how lucky you are?” and, “I would never complain. I would love the stretch marks and the nausea and the lack of sleep, all of it. I want those motherhood battle scars. Give them to me.”

I guess what I wanted to get across in this post is that just because you’ve suffered emotionally and physically trying to get pregnant doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to suffer once you are pregnant. Nor does it mean you have to suffer silently during pregnancy.

Hopefully this clarifies my thoughts and doesn’t make it worse. I don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining. But I promised myself that I would be truthful and honest in this blog. I don’t want to leave out any of my feelings.