Monday, March 26, 2007

First pics!


Friday, March 23, 2007

To quote Drew Barrymore ... THEY'RE HERE!

This will be a quite brief post since I am bone tired and need to pump and then get in bed and snooze away while the post-partem doula is here taking care of them (she's here only a couple of nights a week) ... but as you have figured out by now, THE BOYS ARE HERE!!!

And my apologies to my friends who I regularly correspond with, for not telling them first, but it has been a whirlwind few days, fraught with exhaustion, and also my fingers are still numb so I have to go back and correct a lot of typos. So no birthstory today, just the facts, ma'am.

Which are ... my water broke on Friday afternoon, March 16, with no warning other than slightly increased cervical mucus for a couple of hours beforehand. Luckily I was home in bed, and luckier still, we have a waterproof mattress cover! So the apparent GALLONS that gushed out didn't ruin our mattress.

I called Doug in a panic and we rushed to the HMO hospital, and several hours later, at 11:03 and 11:04 p.m. on March 16, they arrived by C-section. We were a little disappointed not to wait and have them on St. Patrick's Day, but I was heading into active labor and we thought it best not to wait.

So, meet the world -- Augustus Franklin Fauxvert and Samuel Washington Fauxvert! (And no, Fauxvert is not our real last name, but really, you knew that, right? The other names are accurate, however.) Gus was born first, at 6 lbs even, and Sam followed up the rear with 4 lbs 8 oz. They are both natural blond beauties (Gus's copious -- copious! -- hair is lighter than Sam's equally luxuriant mop) and I am achingly in love with them both already. I'll try and post a pic or two in the next few days.

Woo hoo!! :)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Nearing the wire

This will be brief because of my access issues ... as in, leaning far enough forward to hit the keyboard! LOL! Laptop in bed is not working so well because it is just too unwieldy. Also, my fingers alternate between being numb and hurting (that delightful late-pregnancy carpal tunnel) so typing isn't a lot of fun right now.

But the end is in sight! One way or t'other ... I will be 37 weeks on Sunday. Wow. I remember when I worried about making it to 12 weeks. Thank you, God. (I mean that literally.)

We had a little scare on Monday when I saw my OB for my weekly appt. I was gritting my teeth while she rooted around, checking my cervix (ah, the joy of that little procedure!), when she said, "Oh! Your cervix has really thinned out!" Hm? Really? That brought D's and my heads up. Then she added, "I can put a finger right through there!" Oh, ick, lady. Too much info, thanks. (Sorry, I'm not really the Earth Motherish type ... I try, but that's just not me.)

In any case, she got as excited as I've ever seen Dr. S become, and said we might need to do the C section that day to keep me from going into labor. Oh, my. Well, I was more or less okay with that notion, but poor D ... I have now seen him officially turn green. Very entertaining. He did not, he said, feel that he was quite ready.

In any case, they sent us over to Labor & Delivery for me to be monitored, and I wasn't having any contractions, so they sent us home again. So this Monday we have another checkup appt -- my last! -- and the C is scheduled for the Monday following that, on March 26. But if Dr. S gets all excitable again this Monday, it could happen then. I'm torn between being sooooooooo over this pregnancy, and being scared of the C section. I mean, I'm not panicking, but I'm just not thrilled with the idea of surgery while I'm awake, thank you very much. I think I'll try and concentrate on just how over this pregnancy I am. I do love feeling the boys bounce and kick and generally raise havoc in there -- but I'm ready for them to do that out here now instead.

Wish us bonne chance!


Oops! And I can't believe I forgot to mention this ... SIL and baby are doing great. She is out of the hospital now and recovering from her C section, and baby Leonardo is off oxygen and generally just terrific (and incredibly adorable, with the poutiest little pink lips!) but still being quite lackadaisical about nursing. So they will keep him in the NICU until he can feed on his own. Then he's good to go!

Friday, March 09, 2007

I'm an aunt!

And my husband's sister is a new mommy!

In a nutshell, things went fine. SIL had her C section about 5-ish this afternoon, with absolutely no complications. Junior was born at 34 1/2 weeks, at 5 lbs 12 oz (very respectable for that age, I think!), and appears to have a fair complexion and (maybe) reddish hair. He's spending some time in the NICU but appears to be basicaly fine.

The proud parents have an Italian last name, and have chosen the name Leonardo to go with it. This is particularly appropriate since Mom teaches in the sciences at a university, and Dad works in computer stuff and is also of a scientific (and artistic) bent. Aside from the fact that I just like the name Leonardo, I'm happy that they chose a name that is a bit of a mouthful, since the names we have chosen are likewise a little out of the ordinary -- and now they have no room to make fun of us! LOL!

Whew. I was on needles all day. I'm just so relieved. And happy!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

First one to pop

Well, my SIL's C section is tomorrow, at 34+ weeks. You may recall that she has been stuck in the hospital for some weeks now, because of her case of complete placenta previa (i.e., her placenta is right square over the cervix -- not a good location). I am concerned for her. She has been bleeding on and off over the last few weeks (including day before yesterday), and her doctor told her tonight that he wants to do the C tomorrow and not wait anymore. He is concerned about the risk to her of uncontrolled bleeding. since this last bleed was pretty big.

So, she's off to the races tomorrow. I am just keeping my fingers crossed for her and Junior (as she and her husband have been calling their singleton boy), and hoping her story ends happily. (After 5 IVF's, she deserves it!!!) Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My experiment in humor

This is the story of a vaguely scientific experiment, with no provable or reproducible outcome, just an indication. And not having an identical twin of my own, there wasn’t even a “control” for this experiment. But the results still might prove useful, or at least interesting, to someone else going through IVF, so I’ve been meaning to chronicle it for some months now.

Back in July 2006, someone posted a very interesting news story to the Yahoo! IVF group I belong to. (It’s a terrific group; if you are getting ready for IVF, thinking about maybe doing IVF, or are actually in the process right now, I recommend you check it out.) The story was about an IVF study conducted in Israel that apparently showed that women who had a clown perform for them while resting from ET (embryo transfer) had a higher rate of conception than those who didn't. An article from says:

Reuters reports: "After introducing clown therapy to patients having in-vitro fertilization, doctors at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Zerifin, Israel, said the conception rate rose from 20 to 35 percent." The sample size was pretty small, but researchers saw a noticeable increase. "Thirty-three of the 93 women entertained for 10-15 minutes by the professional clown conceived, compared to 18 patients among the same number who had not had a good dose of humor," according to the wire service.

Now, on the face of it, this sounds completely goofy. Clowns? Guys in whiteface with big shoes who go “honk honk”? While you’re lying there on the table in a paper gown with a full bladder and wondering if you’ve just wasted several thousand dollars and a lot of effort? (Of course, when I put it that way, what better time to take your mind off things with watching a clown?)

But oddly enough, I’ve had very good luck in the past with trying out for myself another medical recommendation by an obscure group of Israeli researchers,** so I thought this one might be worth checking out as well. (And really, what could it hurt?) I was especially interested since I have a tendency to be depressed in the best of times. Getting ready to go through IVF for the second time (and having already decided that this would be the last time we’d try it with my own eggs – which did not make me very happy), I was feeling very stressed indeed. I had seen other research that indicated that reducing one’s stress by means of acupuncture, yoga, etc., seemed to have a positive outcome on IVF results, so it didn’t seem farfetched to me that perhaps inducing that state of relaxation during a critical moment in the process might have good results. I had already tried acupuncture when we did IUI (useless, and annoying), and yoga during our first IVF (good for my back, but otherwise without result), so I wasn’t keen to try those again. All right, I decided, this time we’d try a dose of humor.

The thing is, I’m not that keen on clowns. There are very few clowns that I actually find funny, and it seemed to me that the point of the experiment was to induce relaxation by making the women chuckle and laugh. (The Israeli researchers said they had settled on clowns because that way there was no language barrier in understanding the comedy, but obviously, I didn’t have that issue.)

But I am a big fan of standup comedy, and I loves me a really funny movie. I decided I’d get my humor fix by watching a laugh-out-loud-funny movie or watching standup comedy every single day – every day! -- during the entire IVF process. When I first read the article about the Israeli research, I was just starting the suppression stage, finishing up birth control pills and taking Lupron shots in my tummy. I figured I’d start the movies on the day we started the big guns (Menopur and Follistim), and continue through the stimulation phase, retrieval and transfer, and into the two week wait.

The only way I could figure to make sure I had a steady stream of funny movies available during this time was to join Netflix, which meant I had to tell D about my experiment. (I found out during all this that you can join Netflix for as short a time as one month, which is really a pretty good deal.) I was afraid he’d pooh-pooh the whole thing and think I was being just a silly female. But when I showed him the article, D was as intrigued as I was. I mean, really – a fifteen percent jump in the conception rate? Even with such a tiny sample, that’s worth looking at. To my surprise, D began scheming to beg, borrow or steal a portable DVD player so that I could actually watch clowns (such as the ones from Cirque du Soleil, or the old Red Skelton Show) during the half hour wait after ET.

In the end, we dropped the portable DVD part. I’m just not excited about clowns, plus I couldn’t figure out what we were going to do with a portable DVD player afterward. And while spending an extra hundred bucks on a DVD player we might never use again was a drop in the bucket compared to several thousand for the IVF itself, I hate to waste money on junk I don’t want or need.

Now, in fairness, there were other changes in the second cycle from the first one. For the first cycle, I did three days of bed rest after ET, then went back to normal activity, including gardening and so forth. (Bending, lifting, digging – stuff that might not be contraindicated but certainly isn’t recommended during the two week wait.) For the second IVF, I pulled out the big guns and did a full week of bed rest. (Not realizing I was merely presaging the next several months!) I know a week is a lot, but I had read an email from a woman who did just that and got pregnant on her second IVF, so I figured I’d try it too.

Also, more tellingly, with the first IVF we transferred six three-day embryos, while with the second we transferred 11. (This may be some kind of record; I don’t know. I have never heard of anyone else transferring that many. And I can just see those of you in the UK blanching and toppling sideways when you read this!) The thing was, when we transferred six, they were six lovely embryos. Just gorgeous. They were all absolute top-grade or the next grade down, with no fragmentation and strong growth. “Beautiful” embryos, every last one of them, according to Dr. Enterprise. The only thing that we knew was wrong with them was that they were all from eggs that were – just like me – 43 years old. Which is pretty damned old for an egg.

And what did we get from six gorgeous embryos? Bupkis. Nuthin’. Technically, we got a chemical pregnancy – a first beta of 19, followed by a second beta of 5, as I recall – but really, that’s just a slightly more involved version of nuthin’.

So with the second round, when we ended up with eleven gorgeous embryos (all top grade or next to it, like the first time), we had the first round to look back on and confuse us. We could have tried again with six, but that just seemed silly. So how many did we try? Eight, and then attempt to grow the others to blastocyst and freeze them? Ten? All 11? This was complicated by our doc telling us that embryos from older eggs typically did not freeze as well as ones from younger eggs. So we would be taking additional risk with trying to freeze any at all, instead of using them all when they were fresh.

Another way of looking at it was that 11 was slightly less than twice the number of embryos we had transferred before, and so you could figure that perhaps we were taking slightly less than twice the risk of getting multiples. But I had been told just how freakin’ OLD I was by so many doctors at that point, plus we had the experience of the first IVF, and we just didn’t think we would get many multiples, if any. Maybe twins, we thought. Maybe.

Of course, as you know if you’ve read the archives here or followed this saga from the beginning, what we actually got was SIX takers – two empty sacs (that perhaps we shouldn’t count as fetuses at all, though our doc did), plus four fetuses with heartbeats.

So how do we account for this? Pure luck? Very possibly. The extra bed rest? Well, maybe. From what I’ve read, the jury is still out on how much bed rest, if any, is useful after transfer.

Should we lay it at the door of using 11 embryos? We could do that … except that why did we suddenly get such a high rate of return with 11, when we got nothing at all with six? Maybe we just had a bunch of viable embryos this time and had none last time. It’s certainly possible. And 11 is an awful lot of embryos, so there’s just more genetic material there, both good and bad. But really, six is a lot, too.

Or it could be our humor experiment. I kept with it faithfully, and I did notice a definite difference in my overall mood. By the end of each day during the two week wait, I had usually managed to work myself into a funk, deciding that the IVF had not worked, none of it would ever work, and that God had it in for me and I would never, ever in this lifetime manage to get a child of my own by any means whatever. And just about the time I was ready to sit down and have a good cry, it would be time instead to sit down and watch my funny movie. And by the time I had finished cackling over “Duck Soup” or shaking my head at “Life of Brian,” life looked better, and I would start thinking about whether it’s really a good idea or not to send a kid off to one of those snooty Northeast colleges even if they do get a full ride.

Probably the most amusing part of this is what we chose to do right after the transfer. (You’ll remember I had nixed the clowns.) I had noticed during our first embryo transfer that there was a CD player in the transfer room. The first time, we played a soothing New Age-y album provided by the doctor’s office. But this time I went looking for a suitable humor CD to play, and ended up with a Jeff Foxworthy album! Probably the first time that gentleman has had his comedy put to quite that use. But it kept D and I both chuckling during the whole waiting time after transfer, which is what I was after.

So I recommend the Humor Experiment to those of you who are still working on your own baby-making project. If nothing else, you should be in a better overall mood during a very difficult time. And who knows – it just might work! I think it did for us.

** The first Israeli research that I used to good effect was a study showing that technical “overdose,” or off-label use, of Program (lufenuron), a flea medicine, was effective in controlling ringworm in felines. I had very good luck with this treatment and recommend it highly if your cats are plagued with ringworm. We managed to eradicate it completely from our household using Program. I brought this to my vet’s attention at the time, and though they scoffed at it at first, a year later they were recommending it to their other clients!

Laugh-out-loud movies
(From several “best of” lists I found on the Internet, plus suggestions from friends.)

Duck Soup
Monkey Business (Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, Ginger Rogers – one of the funniest movies EVER)
The Big Lebowski
Cat Ballou
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
A Night at the Opera
Northern Exposure (Season 1)
Young Frankenstein
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
The Three Amigos
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
The Seven Year Itch
Some Like It Hot
The Truth About Cats & Dogs
Office Space
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Guide for the Married Man
Midnight Run

Movies that were supposed to be funny, but weren’t particularly (though they are still good movies):

The Apartment
To Be or Not to Be (Mel Brooks)
The Odd Couple (movie)
Napoleon Dynamite