NIPT Results

I had a rough day today. I had to drag myself out of bed to use the toilet several times last night and this morning because we went for sushi yesterday, and I made some poor choices. Yes, I am still eating raw fish and seafood (ie. Sashimi, sushi, maki) but I trust the places that I’m eating at- they are busy, have a high turnover, and are clean. Plus, from what I have read, food poisoning from sushi is just as bad for you non-pregnant as pregnant, so it’s not like there’s a greater risk during pregnancy. That’s not why I am having the runs though. I usually try to stay away from things with any “sauce”- teriyaki sauce, soy sauce- because usually, they have gluten in them. Wheat flour is a common ingredient in soy and teriyaki sauces, so I have to buy special gluten-free varieties, which are expensive, and most sushi places won’t splurge on that kind of thing. So those yummy beef-wrapped enoki rolls and the bulgogi beef ribs that I ate are probably to blame for the mucousy gluten-sludge in my toilet. It’s so nasty. When gluten hits my digestive tract, an autoimmune reaction happens. My body tries to get rid of it by producing lots of mucous so that the gliadin proteins in the gluten aren’t in contact with my digestive lining because it’s so irritated. This means lots of nasty poops. Anyways, my belly bloated up within a few hours of eating, and it was so painful. I felt a lot of pressure a bit higher than I used to, thanks to my uterus growing out of my pelvis, and pushing everything like my bowels upwards. Luckily, the worst of it is over now, and I’ve re-learned my lesson again to stay away from gluten!
Sorry to have subjected you to the descriptive details of my poopy adventures. Kudos for surviving that.

Now, onto the good stuff…..

I went to the gym today, and dragged my feet through my entire workout, which was surprising, because today was leg day, and I LOVE leg day. I guess the waiting by the phone for weeks had caught up with me, and I was starting to really feel hopeless about it all. 

I finished my workout, came home, and made myself a turkey sandwich (gluten-free bread, microwaved the nitrate-free cold cuts). Halfway through eating my emotions, the phone rings! 

It’s my genetic counsellor! 
She has good news!

Yes, that’s right….. GOOD NEWS!

Dumplin’ is LOW RISK (<1/10,000) for all three trisomies!! 

HALLE-fucking-LUJAH!!!! 

  
I texted and called DW as soon as I heard the good news, but she was picketing and unable to answer her phone. When she finally called me back, we both cried tears of joy over the phone. We are so grateful for all of your positive thoughts, prayers, supportive messages, texts, and comments. I honestly don’t know how I would get through this without all of you. 

 (Beautiful flowers from the very thoughtful MyPerfectBreakdown) 
Tomorrow, we have our early anatomy scan, to check out Dumplin’s heart and other body parts, and two and a half weeks after that we have our fetal echocardiogram. Fingers crossed that all goes well with these tests too. 

For now, I’m so grateful for this good news. Best Mother’s Day gift ever!

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Another Fucking Roadblock

*Warning: lots of F-bombs released in this post*

You’re not supposed to write when you’re angry. You’re especially not supposed to write emails when you’re angry, but I just did. I couldn’t help it. I am just so angry right now. 

So I’ve been counting days (as you do when you’ve been cycling, going through TWWs, on edge for the next ultrasound, etc.) since I had my blood drawn and sent off for the NIPT test on April 29th. Like I mentioned before, another blogger got her results back within 6 business days, and today would be the 6th business day. So I’ve been anxiously going about my day, with my phone ringer on high and always close by. I made breakfast, I planted some bush beans, I got some chicken and potatoes ready in the slow cooker, I cleaned and disinfected the kitchen, all with my phone tagging along. I finally took a break about 10 minutes ago, checked my phone, and there was an email from my lovely genetic counsellor with a subject line of “Results expected next week”. God bless that girl for emailing me to let me know not to expect anything anytime soon, but CML blood labs can go and fuck themselves. 

Apparently, despite protocol being that they should’ve mailed my sample by courier (1-2 days max) off on April 29th, the sample wasn’t received until May 4th. That’s 5 fucking days! So now, because of this, I’ve been told to expect results sometime between May 11th to May 14th. 

I know some of you might think I’m just being a whiny baby about this, “what’s another week?”, but let me put this into perspective here:

It has taken us 3 years, 4IUI’s, 2 full rounds of IVF, and 5 transfers of a total of 9 embryos to get here. There have been 3 miscarriages along the way.

We got the abnormal result on April 17th. 

Paper work for funding for the NIPT was sent on April 21st, which was somehow never received by the Ministry of Health.

Paper work for funding for the NIPT was re-sent on April 28th, and thankfully approved on April 29th.

I did my bloodwork and the package was supposed to be sent off the morning of April 29th. Somehow it doesn’t reach the lab until May 4th?!! And now I am told I might have to wait as late as May 14th for results?!! 

Ladies and gentlemen, it has taken Canada one month to deal with something that should’ve taken a week. What. The. Fuck.

The impact of this is that my wife and I are in pregnancy limbo, crying on our bad days and worried as shit on our good days, losing out on a full month of pregnancy bliss due to what is hopefully a stupid false positive NT scan that I never really wanted to do in the first place.

Fuck.

Just fuck.

14 Weeks… Welcome to the 2nd Trimester!

  I am so grateful to have made it to this milestone. After our 3 first trimester losses in the past year (2 DW’s, 1 mine), the second trimester seemed like a pipe dream. I am not sure if it’s the intralipids, prednisone, or fragmin, but I’m glad that I strong-armed our RE into implementing a more aggressive protocol after my NK cytokine findings in October.

Pregnancy has been nice lately. I’m still a bit pukey at certain times in the morning, usually when I have been slow to get food into my belly, or when I’m brushing my teeth. I’m still on the 4 Diclectin daily, as it’s allowing me less food aversions, so I’m eating healthier. I’m up about 12lbs from pre-pregnancy, and up 17lbs from pre-IVF. I’m starting to not care so much about the weight gain, as my bump begins to show more. 

Sleep has been terrible, as my anxiety has been high from this elevated NT crap. I’m a little less obsessed with it now that the NIPT has been sent off, and there’s just waiting to do now. It’s out of my hands. Work has also been stressing me out, as we are 99.99% going on strike, and that means “bye bye salary!”. As a two-teacher household, we are hit even harder. We have money saved (that was supposed to go towards a minivan), and there is a strike fund that we’ve been paying into for years and years which will start to pay us back and definitely soften the blow. It’s all just crazy town over here though. DW’s is leading her school in this strike, and has been stressed out worse than I’ve ever seen her be. 

I started weaning down from my 10mg of Prednisone last week. Last week I went down to 7.5mg daily, and today I go down to 5mg daily. Next week I will be down to 2.5mg daily, and then off of it completely. During December’s failed FET, they didn’t give me proper weaning/tapering instructions and told me to go off cold turkey. My body didn’t respond well, as I had full-body aches, was exhausted to the point of bed-ridden, and I was super hypotensive (my normal BP is around 100/70, and it went down to 90/70). I’m hoping to avoid all of that this time. I have developed a wider “moon face”, and have probably gained more weight than I would’ve without the prednisone, so I’m looking forward to going off of it soon. I’m still on the Fragmin though, and will probably ask to stay on blood thinners until 6 weeks postpartum because while I don’t have a thrombophilia, my sister had a DVT and my grandpa died of a pulmonary embolism. I’m supposed to stay on the aspirin until the end as well.

My hair remains a mess. The front half has been combed out, but the back is still in dreads. DW likes to say that I’m “all business in the front and party in the back”, which makes me laugh my ass off. A couple of days ago, I had a meltdown because I regretted taking out those hard-earned mature dreads. I hate my hair not in dreads. It’s this super fine, wavy sometimes curly always frizzy mess. I have to put way more work into my “normal hair” than I do with my dreads. DW came home to me bawling my eyes out over this one day, and agrees that I should just redread what I took out. I always wanted my dreads a bit thinner, so I might take this as an opportunity to get what I want. It’ll take a while, but I’m glad I didn’t continue to take more out.

I’m definitely showing now, and DW has been coming home and greeting both me and my bump. My belly kinda asserts itself in our hugs now too, which is kinda fun, thinking that Dumplin’ is part of our hug. Clementine has been guarding my belly more closely now, insisting on lying such that her front legs rest on my belly, in Sphinx pose.

  
I’m getting more and more excited about Dumplin’, and have been itching to pull out the boxes of baby clothes that were handed down from my BIL and SIL almost five years ago. We’ve got lots of shuffling to do of stuff in different rooms. We’re moving the entertainment stuff from the rec room to the living room, the office stuff into the rec room, and turning the office into Dumplin’s room. We chose to keep the spare room as the guest bedroom, because all of our family is from out of town and do often stay over. 

I’ve been visualizing good things for us, partly because it helps me get through this tough time, but also because I’m trying to believe in the law of attraction. In my mind, Dumplin’ is perfect. Early next week, the NIPT results will show no/low risk for all trisomies, and we can breathe a sigh of relief. We start moving furniture in preparation for Dumplin’s room, making space for him/her in our home. The next week, at our early anatomy ultrasound, Dumplin’ measures normal on everything, especially his/her heart. We start setting up Dumplin’s room. Two weeks after that, he/she measures normal for everything at the anatomy ultrasound and fetal echocardiogram. We celebrate by washing, sorting, and putting away the baby clothes we’ve been waiting so long to finally be able to use. The rest of the pregnancy is full of happiness, laughter, and love shared between myself, DW, Dumplin’, and those we care about. We have a wonderful summer spent at the cottage or travelling. We celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary with a baby moon. I return to work in September and love being back at my old school. I am able to work until close to Dumplin’s due date. Dumplin’ is welcomed into the world through a meaningful, intense, birth without fear. He/she continues to be wonderful. These are my hopes and prayers. 

NIPT Funding 

24 hours after our application for funding for the NIPT (Harmony, Panorama, Verifi) was faxed to the Ministry of Health, it was approved! 

Our genetic counsellor emailed me the letters of approval, and then I hustled my ass down to the blood lab. The nurses were a bit frazzled about how to process me, as they rarely ever get requisitions like this that get sent to the States for processing (why in the world don’t we have a lab that does this in Canada?!?!!). I was a bit nervous about this (with all of the curve balls that have been thrown at us already), but the head nurse found a step-by-step flowchart that showed them how to process the paperwork and collect and pack up the sample. It took three nurses to do this lol.

So now the sample is off, and hopefully we hear the results sooner than later. They quote a processing time of 10 days, but Sarah at Three Hearts Beating got her results back in 6 business days, which would be approximately on Thursday of next week for us. Fingers and toes crossed that our sweet little baby has normal chromosomes. Please keep thinking and praying for us.

Thank you! I appreciate every single one of your comments and likes. Your support is so special to me.

13 Weeks

Dumplin’ is the size of a peach or a jalape├▒o now. My belly hasn’t really changed since week 11, which has me convinced that my “bump” was definitely more bloat than bump. Maybe it’s shifting more to being a bump than bloat these days. I noticed a gradual decrease in the bloat after I stopped the progesterone suppositories, which makes sense.

I haven’t been sleeping well ever since last Friday’s abnormal NT scan. It’s weird, but it kind of made me go through some of the stages of grieving, even though nothing definitive has come up yet. I guess considering all of the possible outcomes has brought out a lot of feelings- for both myself and DW. We’ve both been crying pretty much everyday, and then feeling guilty for not celebrating Dumplin’ all moments of the day. It’s kind of like being in limbo- we’re scared to act as if everything is perfect with the pregnancy, in case… Just in case we’re let down again by life. But by preparing ourselves for the worst possible outcome, I have felt bad about how I’m treating Dumplin’. I haven’t allowed myself to be as connected to her, I’ve pretended that she doesn’t exist. It’s terrible, and I feel super bad about it. So as of yesterday, I told DW that I’m going to pretend we never got this stupid NT test done, and continue loving and baby dreaming about Dumplin’. I think she must be able to sense how I feel about her. I love her so much. We both love her so much. She is safe inside me. 

My family doctor has been amazing with trying to get us in to see the genetic counsellor (this Tuesday), and with submitting paperwork for funding the NIPT. We are still waiting to find out if we’ve been approved, and it’s taking longer than I expected. I thought I’d hear back by now. 

I’m still spotting a couple of times a week. I’ve noticed it happens a couple hours after I’ve had an orgasm or have been physically active. I’m not sure about the status of the SCH, but I’m assuming it’s still around. 

As the weather gets warmer, I find my dreadlocks to be a bigger and bigger pain. I love them, and feel most like myself when my hair is in natural dreads. It’s such an easy hairstyle too- I pretty much don’t do anything to them. Because I’ve had them so long now, they are self-maintaining. My longest dreads reach halfway down my back, and they are gorgeously mature. The problem is that they’re getting really heavy, and when I wash them, I’m nearly putting my neck out because they’re waterlogged. They are also super insulating around my neck and shoulders, which makes it hard to sleep sometimes. The weight of them is also starting to pull too much on my hair follicles, and I’m getting scalp irritation in some areas of my head. For all of these reasons, I have decided to part with my dreads. Now I bet a lot of you are wondering if I have to shave my head, and the answer is no. I’ve been patiently combing out each dreadlock. Since they are natural dreads (knots form on their own, and with my own hair) the mats are easier to comb out. I’ve already taken out 10 dreads in two days. I’m shocked by how little hair I have left, but I think it’s just that my hair is naturally very fine. It’s gonna be a thin straggly mess when I’m done, but I am going to Pinterest some hair styles that I might have my hair cut to. Combing out my dreads has always been a very emotional experience for me. I’ve done it three times, and each time it’s coincided with a major life transition. Maybe this time it is my soul welcoming motherhood?

Having a Hard Time

I just got off the phone with our midwife, and am waiting at my family doctor’s office for my appointment. The midwife says that I should be referred to a genetics specialist right away (and not wait until the rest of my blood results come in) because the Nuchal translucency value was so high. 

I’ve printed off requisitions for the NIPT blood test that can screen with quite a high level of accuracy for the trisomies. Since Dumplin’s NT value is greater than 3.5mm, we might qualify for this test to be covered by our provincial health care program.

*Update*

We applied for funding for the NIPT test. We should hear back in a couple of days. I have to thank Sarah of Hearts and Spiritbaby for their invaluable guidance and advice through this part of the process. I also want to thank all of you who commented on my last post because at the time that I hit “publish”, I was feeling so hopeless and helpless. But your helpful and thoughtful comments helped me out of that hole. Right now I feel like there is a plan. Applications are waiting to be approved. Appointments waiting to be made. There is nothing else that I can do. It’s out of my hands. 

I met with an old friend of mine from teachers college for lunch today. I caught her up on our year while we inhaled gluten-free pizzas from Magic Oven. She is an awesome lady, and such a good listener. She has Celiac Disease as well, and just recently had her entire thyroid removed due to fast-growing nodules. She spent last year teaching up in a northern community, and I loved hearing and seeing pictures of her experiences there. She is also a physics geek like me, but can’t seem to get a teaching job because frankly, there really are none available. It sucks because she is so good with at-risk kids.

Lots has been going on over here. I have just been so consumed by this abnormal NT scan that I haven’t had the balls to catch y’all up. I’m also sorry if I’m not as good at commenting lately for the same reason.

Here’s a quick list to catch you up:

– We might be going on strike due to the outrageous conditions being imposed on our teaching contracts (it’s not about money, the government wants to do stupid things to pay down their self-made debt. Things like removing the cap on class sizes and other ridiculous things that they are not publicizing). This means that as a two-teacher household, we will not be getting a paycheck from our employer if we go on strike. Money is gonna be tight.

– I am finally done with those nasty Endometrin suppositories! 

– I was offered (and accepted) the job that I applied for at a different school. It doesn’t start until September, but it’s 7 minutes from my house (compared to 45), and I’ll be teaching with a lot of my friends. I’m so relieved and happy about this.

– I started knitting Dumplin’ a baby blanket. It’s similar to the Chevron pattern that Molly from Hound Mamas made for her little girl. I’ve got a lot of random yarn, and so far I’ve just been working on the cream colour section. I thinking of making it cream- grey- cream- pale green- cream- grey- cream

I also made a delicious Manhattan clam chowder:

 
I made a huge batch yesterday, which became dinner for today because I spent the entire afternoon crying. Thank you to the good friend that texted with me (you know who you are). Please keep our Dumplin’ in your thoughts and prayers. Fingers still crossed for a healthy normal blood screen. We love you Dumplin’.