Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ultrasound #3

Baby Labrador now measures 13 mm and the doctor saw a "rapid heartbeat" this morning. Praise God!

It's been a very long day, so that's it for now.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Seven Weeks

Fetal Development at Seven Weeks

I remember watching In the Womb with Michael last year, and we were both amazed by how quickly everything happens.

At seven weeks:
  • elbows form
  • fingers start to develop
  • feet start to appear with tiny notches for the toes
  • ears, eyes, and the nose start to appear
  • intestines start to form in the umbilical cord
  • teeth begin to develop under the gums
It's absolutely incredible, and I don't see how anyone can say that life doesn't begin at conception. It obviously does.

I'm afraid to jinx myself, but I must say that I'm feeling better this morning - first time in a week. Nevertheless, I will be talking to a nurse sometime today about the queasiness because I just can't function when I feel that way. On the days I've felt queasy, it's stayed with me all day long. It's really hard to do my job, or anything else for that matter, when I feel sick.

Update: Was just given permission from the RE's office to take Unisom and B6 in the evenings for my queasiness. When I first spoke with the nurse (one I don't know), she was telling me all the things I already knew and have tried. Then she told me to drink smoothies, and I told her that Dr. Pak does not want me having anything cold this trimester. She poo pooed that. So, I was a bit frustrated after talking to her. Then she called back and told me that Tori (the most wonderful nurse ever!), said I could take the Unisom and B6 combination for my sickness. Thank you, Tori!!! I hope it helps.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I am feeling so lousy, and I hear that's a good thing.

While I haven't "tossed my cookies", I am continually queasy. I have to have a piece of candy or a little something to eat all the time. However, there is very little in the way of food that appeals to me right now. I'm craving fresh fruit, and I go through a lot of Trader Joe's organic apple slices and fruit salad from Bristol Farms.

The hunger pangs are more like hunger pains - very intense! I cannot believe how hungry I am and how often I am hungry. Then when I try to eat something, I can only eat a very small portion.

And my digestion is all messed up. Enough said.

I had a terrible night last night and called for a substitute teacher early this morning. I've already managed to catch up on a few hours sleep.

I understand this will get better in a few weeks, but it stinks right now.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ultrasound #2

The doctor said everything is looking good. There is noticeable growth of both the gestational sack and the yolk sac. He also said that next week's ultrasound should show us the fetal pole and the heartbeat.

I'm feeling better about my symptoms. They come and go, but now I know that's normal. I've experienced some queasiness, and it seems like my digestive system is even more sensitive than usual. I will not be able to eat my mother-in-law's turkey meatloaf again during this pregnancy. It tastes so good, but it really upsets my stomach. Boo hoo.

I am craving fruit. When my stomach was upset yesterday, I found that apple slices were really soothing.

I'm still cranky. My mom can vouch for that. I'm sorry, Mom.

My sleep is messed up. I woke up this morning at 2:30 am and couldn't get back to sleep before the alarm went off at 4:30. I hate that!

Anyway, things are progressing. It's hard to believe, but it's feeling more real all the time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I'm up in the middle of the night scouring the Internet for information because the breast tenderness is gone. I haven't felt it all day Saturday. I only found a few references to it being something that can come and go as hormone levels change, but a few anecdotal references were that it preceded miscarriage.

Then it dawned on me that another symptom I'd been experiencing was vaginal secretions (I know TMI), and I didn't experience those yesterday either.

I'm going to call the RE's office in the morning, but I'm pretty sure they will make me wait until my appointment on Tuesday for an ultrasound and the answer only it can give us.

Sigh. . .

Just spoke with a nurse. She said they frequently hear about both of my concerns, and not to worry. Hormones fluctuate, and symptoms can come and go in a healthy pregnancy. I'll go in as scheduled on Tuesday morning. I guess that makes me feel better, but I can hardly wait for Tuesday's ultrasound so I really know what's going on.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Six Weeks

"They" say I'm six weeks pregnant today. My only symptoms are afternoon fatigue and tender breasts, and sometimes in the afternoon on my way home from work I am so hungry. Oh, and I have to get up multiple times a night to pee. Fun times. I've not had any morning sickness. My acupuncturist says that's neither here nor there. You either have it, or you don't. Not to worry. I'm still going to see her twice a week through the first trimester.

I guess I'd also say that I've been feeling irritable. If only I ruled the world, everything would be so much better. You know? ;) But I can't really say that is a pregnancy symptom. Maybe I'm just cranky from having to get up so incredibly early every morning to get to work on time.

Speaking of work. . .

My class seems to be a nice group of kids, and none of their parents has struck me as being crazy, unreasonable, or otherwise difficult to deal with. And that's a huge plus. I can handle almost anything when it comes to the kids. They're just kids, after all. It's their weird parents that send me over the edge. In the past I've had parents yell at me, chase me out to my car after school, threaten me, send me mean-spirited nasty notes, etc. Some people are insane, and I hate it when their kids end up in my class. Crazy people should home school. I'm not saying that people who home school are crazy. I just think crazy people should definitely home school. Trouble is, they probably don't know they're crazy. Shoot!

So far, I've got lots of parent volunteers and I'm plugging them in to help out anyway they can. Many hands make light work. My class is full - 32 students. I also take an additional seven students for math everyday. We're crammed in like sardines at that time. I still don't understand why K-3 classrooms can have no more than 24 students in them, but somehow it's okay for fourth and fifth grade classrooms to be jam packed. I guess the fourth and fifth graders weren't cute enough to pull on the heart strings of the politicians who came up with California's class-size reduction program, or something like that. See what I mean about being cranky?

Ah. . .

So now my sweet little post about being six week pregnant has morphed into a rant about work.


I'll conclude with an amazing picture of a baby at six weeks:

Isn't it just incredible that so much development takes place in such a short period of time?

Monday, September 13, 2010


Miracle Baby's First Ultrasound

This morning's ultrasound revealed one miracle baby! Yea!

Dr. Dourron said that not only could he see the gestational sack, but he could also see the yolk sac which is something he would not expect to see until the sixth week. He indicated that it was a good thing.

My progesterone was 35 today. Also a good thing.

I will have an ultrasound every week through this first trimester, and they will check my progesterone weekly.

Too tired to write about impressions and feelings. Just very thankful and happy to be blessed like this.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Aunts & Nieces

Today we celebrated my Great Aunt Nilja's 90th birthday. She's quite a lady, and you'd never guess she's ninety. She and my great uncle are looking forward to their trip to Las Vegas later this week. They are precious. There were probably thirty or forty family members there to celebrate with her, and we all held hands while my cousin Jeff led us in a prayer of thanks. It was a beautiful prayer, and I just thought how blessed we all are to be family here on Earth and brothers and sisters in Christ. After that, Aunt Nilja said her secret to looking beautiful and living a long life was to laugh everyday and she thanked her husband for giving her lots of reasons to laugh.

Anyway, my favorite moment this afternoon was as I arrived and got out of my car. Running in the street to get to me for a congratulatory hug was my eighteen year old niece (and new college student), Rebecca. She was so excited for me and she said she wanted to be the first to give me a hug. In other words, she wanted to beat her younger sister to it. I just love her sweet spirit and enthusiasm.

My other niece was remarking that she wanted to meet the other kids at the party, who are distant cousins. Sarah just doesn't see them often enough to know them. She then said to me that she was going to know her cousin(s) very well. That she was going to be a good "auntie" to them. That just warmed my heart. I told her she could babysit and change diapers, and she was okay with that. That's my girl. I changed many diapers when my cousins were little. It's good practice!

I am nervous about tomorrow's ultrasound. I just want everything to be okay. I'll post tomorrow night and let you know how it goes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11th, 2009

September 11th is infamous for the horrible national tragedy we experienced nine years ago today, but I also now remember it as the day Michael started taking Sutent. Just the day before, he had gone to see his oncologist. I chose not to go because it was just the second day of school, and I didn't think it would be anything more than a prerequisite to him starting the HDIL-2 treatment.

As it turned out, he received some devastating news that day that his cancer was too aggressive and too advanced for him to do HDIL-2. After his appointment, he called me with that news, and I was shocked. I rushed up to Santa Monica, leaving my students in the care of some other teachers, to be with him while we waited for his prescription to be approved. Our insurance company was balking at the cost - $10,000 for a month's supply.

While we waited to see if we'd be able to have the prescription filled that day, we rested on his sister's guest room bed and looked each other in the eyes. The reality of his disease was so heavy on our hearts. It was the first time that we realized that our time together might be much shorter than we'd ever considered. I just remember telling him not to leave this world without Jesus, and I'm forever grateful that he didn't.

The next day, September 11th, our insurance approved his prescription and he began taking it right away. He derived an almost immediate benefit from it, although it turned out to be a short-term solution for him. However, in the next two months, we were able to enjoy our life together and spend time with the people that mattered most.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

IVF #2, Beta #3

Today's beta was 896 - not a doubling of Tuesday's beta, but the nurse said they were not concerned about that. I do not have to have another beta test, but I will go in for my first ultrasound on Monday morning.

I'm feeling good physically - not too tired, no more crazy hunger, just some breast tenderness from the progesterone.

I'm really looking forward to Monday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

IVF #2, Beta #2

Today's beta level was 513 and the nurse said that was good. Beta levels are supposed to double every 48-72 hours, so I'm in the pocket. My progesterone has also increased from 17 to 31 due to the additional amount in my nightly injection.

I will repeat the beta test on Thursday and Saturday. If all continues to progress, then I will have my first ultrasound next Monday.

I woke up at a quarter to three this morning and I couldn't go back to sleep because I was SO hungry. I had to get up and eat a bowl of cereal! I never eat in the middle of the night, so I'm guessing that has something to do with the pregnancy. Other than that, I'm feeling good.

Six Months

Yes, time marches on, and because of that it's been six months since Michael went home.

Hard to believe.

On the one hand, I hate that it has been that long since we've been here together. On the other hand, I know that I'm six months closer to seeing him again, and that's what keeps me going - the knowledge that there is more than this fallen world and this fragile life.

When it's my time to go or when the trumpet sounds, whichever comes first, then I will begin an eternity with Michael. We'll do so many things that we didn't have time to do here, and we'll experience things I can't even begin to imagine. Of course, Heaven will be so much more than just hanging out with Michael. But because I can't really understand all that God is preparing for those that love Him, I tend to focus on what it will be like to be reunited with Michael. I already know how good it is to be with him. If you knew him, you know just what I'm talking about.

I oftentimes imagine him exploring the present Heaven like he explored so many international cities when he was touring with the PA band. By now I expect that he's made a ton of new friends, come to know our Lord Jesus in a way he didn't while he was here, and he's using his gifts to serve the Him. I fully expect that Michael will be my "tour guide" when I get there. That he'll take me by the hand and show me all his favorite places in the heavenly city like he did when we went to Madrid and London. It's going to be amazing.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Madrid, July 2007

Monday, September 6, 2010

Overjoyed, Overwhelmed, and Tired

Yesterday was just incredible. It was the second happiest day of my life - the happiest day being the day I married Michael. That got me thinking about the worst day of my life, which wasn't the day Michael died, but the day he was diagnosed with cancer. But that's a whole other post.

When the nurse was taking my blood yesterday, she asked me what I thought. Since I hadn't taken a HPT, I told her I didn't know what to think. I told her that I didn't feel anything and she said no one really feels anything this early on.

As I was leaving the office, so was another patient. She asked me if I was pregnant. I was kind of taken aback. If you've ever been in a doctors office like that, you know that NO ONE talks to one another. Spouses talk to each other, but other patients do not sit there and share with one another. It's some unspoken code of conduct. So I was really surprised that she would say something to me. I told her I didn't know if I was pregnant and that I'd just had my first beta test. She said she never talks to anyone, but that she thought I looked pregnant. She also said she was doing her fourth IVF. I told her a little of my story, and she offered to pray for me. She asked me for my name and reminded me that God always has a plan. I remarked that maybe she'd been sent to me this morning as a little light, because at this point in the day I was feeling so low. I was just certain that when the call came in it would be another chemical pregnancy.

On the drive home, I turned on the local Christian music station. On Sunday mornings their playlist is all worship music. I heard a good one by the David Crowder Band called Here is Our God. I had seen them perform this song at the Harvest Crusade a few weeks earlier. It's a great song, and although I could barely sing along (too choked up with emotion) I raised a hand and tried to worship Him. My pastor continually reminds us that we are to offer praise to the Lord even when we don't feel like it. Do you know how hard that is when you feel like your life just sucks? Excuse my language, but that's how I've been feeling lately. Intellectually I know that God is worthy of my praise regardless of how I feel or what my circumstances are, but sometimes I just don't feel like it! Anyway, I think doing that was a little spiritual breakthrough for me. It was a sacrifice because it wasn't easy for me, and God honors our sacrifices when they come from the right place in our hearts. (Psalm 50:23)

By noon, my parents and my mother-in-law were all here to wait for the call with me. When the call came in, I could hear a difference in the nurse's voice from the seven other times I've taken a call like this. She sounded happy, and in a matter of seconds I knew why. It was just amazing to me. Completely unexpected. I had been praying that my beta number would be high, so that I would be able to have more confidence in the pregnancy being viable. God is faithful.

Then we started calling all the friends and family members who have been faithfully praying for this outcome - aunts, uncles, cousins, friends near and far.

Last night, my parents and I went out to my in-laws to have dinner together and to celebrate this great news. Everyone is just overjoyed. It's about time we had something to celebrate after everything we've gone through this year. They opened a bottle of champagne, and I couldn't have any. :)

This morning I saw Dr. Pak for acupuncture. I will continue to see her twice a week through the first trimester. She, too, is so happy for me. Dr. Pak has been a constant in my life twice a week since May. I see way more of her than I do my RE. I don't know what all those little needles do, but I do think they have beneficial qualities. I'm glad I've invested the time and money in it.

I am completely overwhelmed by all the comments I've receive here on the blog and on Facebook. What a blessing to be connected to so many people through the Internet. In the last five years I have made friends as my life went through various phases - adoption, infertility, cancer, loss and widowhood. Your friendship has been a real blessing through all of these challenges. I have been so touched by so many. Thank you!

Lastly, I'm tired. Very low energy. I think I can count this as my first pregnancy symptom! According to an online IVF due date calculator, I am 4 weeks, 2 days pregnant. What?! That's crazy, but I like it. Also according to that site, if I'm having one baby, my due date is May 14, 2011. If I'm having twins, my due date is April 22, 2011. Sounds good to me. :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I am pregnant!

My beta number is 273 today. That's a good strong number. I will go back on Tuesday morning for my second beta test. We need that number to double by then.

My progesterone is a little low at 17, so the doctor is having me increase the amount of my injection from 1cc to 1.5cc.

I was totally prepared for bad news, so this good news is a wonderful surprise.

God is so good! I am feeling joyful!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I'm pretty nervous about tomorrow's pregnancy test.

Every other time (five IUIs, first IVF, and the FET) I always had another option - something else we/I could try.

But, this time there is no other option.

I'm a forty-two year old widow.

I'm out of options.

I really want to experience joy again.

I want to be the recipient of good news, of an incredible blessing.

What does tomorrow hold?

Joy or more heartache?

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Better Day

No, I haven't received a transfer, and at this point I'm not expecting one, but today was a better day than I expected it could be.

Thanks to my sister and my parents, my room is really coming together. I'm also beginning to a feel a renewed sense of camaraderie with my coworkers. And, I sense that my principal is making a real effort to be gracious to me.

I received my class list today, and none of the kids jumped out at me as having a reputation for being a pain in the you-know-what. Of course, only time will tell. The one full-inclusion (and high maintenance) child I was concerned would be placed in my classroom has been placed in the other fourth grade class. That's a relief.

And when the teacher of the three/four combination class asked me to take her kids for math, we worked out a schedule in which she will be present in the classroom with me for at least half of the math lesson after her third graders go home. Although there will be forty children in the classroom during math, all of the kids will benefit by having two teachers then. I will teach the lesson and model the processes on the whiteboard, and she can work the room helping kids as they need it. I think that will work really well.

So, I'm stuck in fourth grade for the thirteenth year. I will escape next year. I will! I will! I will!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

More Work Woes

On Monday I was encouraged to believe that there were several openings within the district, and that it was likely I would receive a transfer this afternoon.

But that has not happened.

I had another long conversation with my contact in HR this afternoon, and she said there's still a chance, but it could be at the last minute, or even after school has started.

I am so disheartened.

My parents and the school custodian loaded up all of my personal belongings into my parents' minivan first thing this morning. Then we waited.

And waited.

It just didn't make sense to begin setting up the room I'm currently assigned to if I was going to get my transfer in a few hours.

Fortunately, that room is already papered and bordered. If I stay, all I need to do is situate my things in the room. I'm afraid that is something I will have to start doing tomorrow morning even though I am still desperately hoping for a transfer.

I did enjoy seeing my colleagues this morning. But I did not enjoy the crowd and the noise in the teachers' lounge where we first met this morning. That was too overwhelming for me. I only stayed for a few minutes.

This is hard. I feel let down by my school district. I know they have accommodated other teachers in the past, and I wish they would find a way to do so for me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to Work

So, tomorrow I return to work.

I haven't worked since the first week of February.

What I've gone through since then has been awful, but being home has been good. Very good. I like being home. It's safe. There aren't too many unexpected triggers and stresses, so my days are predictable and my grief is fairly manageable. I don't think it will be that way once I'm working again.

As wonderfully supportive as most of my coworkers have been, it will be hard to see them tomorrow and receive their sympathy. Sympathy is lovely, but it triggers my emotions. I don't want to be emotional at work. That's another reason I want to transfer to another school site. I don't want to face the students and parents next week who know about my situation. I don't want to hear what they have to say or see the pained expressions on their faces. I can't handle it.

If Michael had had life insurance, I would be taking this school year off. I'd get through all these firsts without them sprinkled in with my work life. But he didn't have life insurance.

I tried to get him a policy shortly after we were married, but when he had a physical examination for it they determined that his PSA was too high and they rejected his application. We knew that if he had a biopsy and it came back negative, that they would reconsider his application. He went ahead and had the biopsy, which we needed to do anyway to make sure he didn't have cancer. Ironically, the biopsy came back clear, but of course he had cancer - just not prostate cancer. Anyway, I wanted to move ahead with the life insurance application, but he was resistant because he didn't want to spend the money for it. I gave in.

We both regretted that decision.

And so now, I must go back to work.