Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Third Time's A Charm

So, I'm guessing a lot of you guys have wondered what's going on with my efforts to try to conceive.  If you're like my friends, you probably picked up on the lack of wine and beer appearing in my posts in the past couple months.  Or maybe it was just the lack of posting in general.  If you've been thinking that maybe I was pregnant, you were right!



The day I found out I was pregnant (for the third time) was June 16th, 2012.  I had gone to meet a friend for some shoe shopping and on my way home I was talking to Greg on the phone.  We were actually talking about how I wasn't going to take a home pregnancy test early that month.  I told him I was much calmer this time and just didn't see the point- I would wait and see if I got my period and then go from there.  Well, ten minutes later I was home with a test in my hand, looking at a faint line on the test, so obviously I changed my mind and took a test that day.

To back up, a while back I mentioned that we started seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).  Our RE conducted just about every fertility test he could on both of us, looking for reasons why we might have had our two miscarriages.  Really, months of testing never revealed anything new other than the results my OB had found- that I had some undiagnosed possible autoimmune issue, and that our 2nd baby had died due to trisomy 22, the RE never found anything else wrong.  All the new testing the RE performed on us came back clear/normal.  The plan became that he would put me on a drug called Letrozole to help me "superovulate", hoping that I would release a good egg.

As months ticked by, I became pretty anxious to start trying again.  Once we had the results of one of the last tests we needed (Greg's semen analysis), and it was fine, I told the nurse who called me- "Okay, well we are ready to start, what now?"  She said to call when my next cycle started, and I did.  This ended up falling on Memorial Day weekend, so they didn't call me back for days.  By the time they called, the nurse informed me that we had missed the window to start a medicated cycle.  I was pretty devastated that we would have to wait ANOTHER cycle to try.  There was one more test they wanted to do on me- the HSG dye test, in which they inject dye into your uterus and tubes and check for any abnormalities, so we went ahead and scheduled that for the following week.  When I went in for my test, the RE came in and performed the test.  He proclaimed that all looked normal and that I should go ahead and try that cycle.  I was surprised and asked "even without the medication?" and he said "Yes, go ahead and try".

Thinking that we weren't going to try that cycle, I didn't start taking Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK) tests early enough that month, so I never really got a positive test and had no idea if or when I even ovulated.  Plus, we were back to our old issues of only being able to try a few days Greg was off around that time, which left us about two tries for that cycle.  So you can see why I didn't have high hopes that I was pregnant- it seemed that it would take a minor miracle for it to happen when timing seemed off, we weren't on meds, and didn't have much opportunity to try.  I even did some hardcore workouts in the two week wait- like CrossFit, which is not like me.

Still, on June 16th, I had a positive pregnancy test in my hand.  And every day the test lines got darker.  I went in for Beta HCG tests and they all doubled as they should.  There was no doubt, I was pregnant again.  My doc put me on progesterone, just as a precaution even though my levels had always tested normal pregnant or not.

I swear, the last test I took was on 7/1.  I know this is excessive!

I had a hunch things felt different this time, but didn't want to get my hopes up too much.  I knew for me, the true test would be the first ultrasound.  I've come to dread ultrasounds after all the awful, disappointing ones I have had over the last year.  It's always, "we're not seeing what we should be at this point" or "there's no heartbeat detected", and I've grown accustomed to seeing my empty looking uterus so many times.  So I wasn't really excited for the first ultrasound.  Really, I tried not to think about the fact that I was pregnant much in the first few weeks.  The less attached I was, the better.

On July 11th (7-11), I had my ultrasound appointment.  There was actually some debate over whether Greg would even be able to come because he had to fly back to Houston that day.  He made it work though, coming with me in his uniform so that he could head to the airport after.  We actually didn't make a back up plan for what we were going to do if it was bad news.  We were called in to the exam room and I knew the drill.  I undressed from the waist down and got up on the table.  We anxiously waited for the doctor to come in.

Finally my doctor came in and inserted the wand and my uterus appeared on the screen.  Right away I thought I saw something resembling a baby, and not only that, I saw a flicker!  My doctor zoomed in and said, "That's your baby, and that's the heartbeat."  I just grinned and kept saying "Oh wow".  I looked a Greg and realized he had tears in his eyes and the nurse had to give him tissues.  We then got to hear the heartbeat 3 times.  The doctor told us it was beating at 144 beats per minute (BPM), which was great for where I was, which was 7 weeks and 1 day, actually two days ahead of where I thought I was!

I couldn't believe it.  We finally had a good ultrasound, everything looked great.  It was surreal!  I was on a high for the rest of the day.  After a few days, unfortunately, the high faded and I was back to worrying.  The thing about me, is I never really have a lot of symptoms when I'm pregnant.  I had some nausea here and there, but it was never consistent.  As days passed after the first ultrasound, I worried more and more that maybe things had taken a turn for the worse.  After all, 7 weeks is still pretty early.

My next ultrasound was scheduled two weeks after the first, on 7/25.  The morning of the appointment, I started to kind of freak out.  I couldn't figure out what to wear and got more and more upset, shedding a few tears.  It was also a rainy day.  I was worried.  We got to the doctor's office and were finally called in.  When my uterus came up on the screen, I could tell the baby looked bigger and I could still see a little flicker of heartbeat.  I still had a live baby in there!  I was so relieved.  The doctor said the baby measured on track for 9 weeks and the heartbeat was 185 BPM.

9 Weeks

My RE released me back to my regular OB, and said everything looks healthy and normal so far.  We're not out of the woods yet, but I am starting to feel more confident that we might actually have a happy ending here.  I'm really hopeful.

I'm now 10 weeks, and feeling pretty good.  I keep forgetting that a lot of people still don't know I'm pregnant, because I've mostly just been telling people I see in person, so I'm sure a lot of you will be surprised at the news, including quite a few of my Charlotte friends.

Anyway, this post is getting extremely long, but I just want to say thank you to all of you who have been following my journey, praying for me, thinking about me, commenting, emailing, Tweeting, texting, and all the support you've given me along the way.  It's meant so much to me.  I will definitely keep you posted on how things are going from here on out.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Scenes from a Weekend in Hilton Head

Hi there!  As I'm sure you can tell, lately I'm feeling a bit more unplugged and not as conscious about taking pictures for blogging or blogging in general.  I don't know if I'd call it a break, but it's a step back from where I once was.  Anyway, I still enjoy recording my life, but I just feel like lately I'm doing it more sporadically when I have something more memorable to chronicle.  Just wanted you to know where I was at with it ;)

I just got back from a weekend in Hilton Head, hanging out with my parents.  I ate tons of seafood, went the the beach, went to the pool, watched some Olympics, and relaxed.  It was just what I needed to recharge.  Here's some scenes from the weekend, including a video of Clyde at the beach.

Epic lobster dinner eaten Friday night while watching the opening Olympic ceremonies.





video



As you can see, Clyde really enjoys the beach now :)

Blueberry pancakes with fruit.

Clyde after a walk on Sunday morning.

Crabcake on a salad.
I got back last night and I'm not looking forward to the work week.  Can I just go back to the beach and frolic in the water again??

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Sunday Routine

For the last couple months, my Sunday routine has looked pretty similar, so I thought I would show you what my day looks like.  I wake up to my pup snuggled up against me.


We snuggle and play a bit as I reflect on the previous evening's activities, which in this night's case was my friend Jamie's 30th Birthday party at Dandelion Market that I went to Saturday night.  They have an option where you can order one of everything on the menu there, and that's what our table of 13 people did.  It was a truly ridiculous amount of food, but I got to try so many things!  Delicious!  Jamie's German chocolate cake wasn't bad either.  I'm not sure how I found room for some, but I did.


Anyway, after some snuggling and reflection on the night's activities, I click on the TV and watch Mad Men in bed for a while.


I never watched the series from the beginning and AMC usually shows random episodes from various seasons on Sunday mornings, but I've slowly put together the puzzle of what's going on and for some reason, I just kind of enjoy watching the show this way- at random.  I kind of can't decide whether I like the show or not, but I'm sort of into it anyway.

Eventually, I head downstairs and make some breakfast, which in today's case was a peach and a pomegranate TJ's yogurt, followed by a sinful cinnamon bun.  I've been wanting a cinnamon bun for about a week now (if you follow me on Twitter, I Tweeted about it) and had to give into the craving today.


I just used the Pillsbury pull apart ones, but they did the trick.  Delicious.


After Mad Men, I watched CBS Sunday Morning.  I feel like I've been watching that show since I could walk.  My parents always had it on Sundays growing up.


From there, my Sundays usually involve a trip to Target or the grocery store, but I got in some shopping Saturday, so I didn't feel the need to go.  Instead, I showered, did laundry, dishes, changed our sheets (I usually do it on Sundays), and cleaned out a drawer that was long over due.


I had an unpictured grilled cheese with some veggies for lunch.  Then later made some watermelon slushie with watermelon, OJ, and ice in the blender.




I read my book club book for a while- Unbroken.  The blogger book club kind of disbanded a couple months ago, and my friend Sarah invited me to hers, so this is this month's book.  I'm about 30% done, so I need to buckle down in the next week if I'm going to finish it!


Dinner was pasta with tomato, squash, sauce, and veggie meatballs, topped with a little shredded mozzarella.



Clyde and I went for a 1/2 hour long walk around the neighborhood after dinner, but hurried back, because last night was The Bachelorette Finale!


I have to admit I had no idea who Emily would pick or whether she was going to pick either one.  I didn't really care who she picked though, I liked both the guys.  I will say I kind of saw her with Arie more than Jef though.  To me, her and Jef look a little odd together.  I feel like their styles don't completely mesh or something.

While watching, I had a little ramekin with some Ben and Jerry's Peanut Brittle ice cream.  Mmmm :)


I stayed up way to late, watching the After the Final Rose interviews, and eventually went to bed, only to be woken by my husband getting home around 1:30am.

And that was pretty much my typical Sunday.  What does yours look like?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lemon Artichoke Hummus

Last weekend I went to my friend Katie's birthday party.



About an hour before, I realized she'd asked us to bring food.  I was seriously contemplating just picking something up, but then remembered that I know how to make a pretty decent hummus myself, and thought she'd appreciate the effort.  I was able to whip up a really tasty batch of the stuff in no time, and it was apparent, based on the near empty bowl that everyone loved it.



Lemon Artichoke Hummus



1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans with about 1/4 cup of the liquid from the can
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup lemon juice
The zest of one lemon
1/3 cup artichoke hearts (marinated in oil)
1/3 cup EVOO (lemon infused if you have it and want it really lemony!)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Blend all ingredients in a blender or large food processor, until smooth, and enjoy!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

4th of July 2012

This year, for the 4th, my friends decided we would do the all American thing and go check out a new hot dog place that just opened in Charlotte.  JJ Red Hots had its grand opening on the 4th and boasts plenty of hot dogs, sausages, and fried sides to go with them.

I decided on the Joliet Jake, which is their Chicago style dog, minus raw onions.  I also got onion rings on the side.  See the distinction?  I like cooked onions, but not raw ;)


My friend Sarah and I shared a chocolate shake, which might have been my favorite thing, but everything was really good :)


After dinner we headed back to Brad and Kelly's house, as per usual.  Drinks were consumed, and we dove into desserts that Kelly and I made.




Kelly made a fruit tart that was definitely fitting for 4th of July, and I made my peach/cherry crisp (sans blueberries because I was out).


I had a little of each.


I'm not sure anyone else really cared about seeing fireworks as much as I did, but I rounded up the group and forced them to come with me to uptown to check out the display.




We had a decent vantage point from a parking garage roof and just as nice?  It wasn't that difficult to get in and out of with the crowds.  Bonus :)

Another 4th come and gone.  I don't think my neighborhood got the memo though, since every night this week they've been setting off fireworks, freaking poor Clyde out :(  I'm constantly rescuing him from a closet or the pantry where he's hiding from the noise.


Anyway, I for one, had a good time on the 4th, and hope you all did too!

Friday, July 6, 2012

E2 and Coldplay

Tuesday night I had a fun night planned with Kelly.  Back in January I had purchased tickets to see Coldplay and it was finally here.  Kelly agreed to be my date and we also decided to have dinner at Emeril's new restaurant, E2 beforehand.  I decided to have a festive cocktail to kick off the night.


I forget what exactly was in it, but I know there was pineapple juice, oj, and some other refreshing flavors.  Yummy, and perfect for summer.

The Hamachi Crudo app was ordered and consumed.  It's yellowtail, jalapeno, cilantro, and ponzu.


For my entree, I ordered roasted chicken, with fingerling potatoes, baby carrots, and red peas.  So GOOD!


Kelly had scallops and we shared some bites with each other.  They were awesome too.  The whole meal was really good, a great way to kick off the evening.  


From dinner we headed over to Time Warner Cable Arena for the Coldplay show.  


We actually got there right at 7pm, when the show started and sat through two opening acts.  There was an unknown British band, and then Robyn.


Robyn was pretty bizarre. The music is pretty much club/house type, and I'm not sure a venue like Charlotte was really ready for that.  I also don't know that it really goes with Coldplay that well.

Anyway, finally around 9pm it was time for the main event.  At the entrance we were given wrist bracelets and told to put them on because they were part of the show.


The bracelets glowed in the dark and the band used them for various songs.  Check this out.

video

All the little lights you see in the audience are everyone's wrist bracelets. It looked like Christmas- so cool.

See the green bracelet lit up on the girl in front of us?


They even blinked in time with the music on some of the songs.  I love that Coldplay does all kinds of interactive stuff with their audience.  They also released giant balls that people were bouncing around, and at one point, they played some songs in the middle of the audience on the lower level, instead of the stage.






As you can probably tell, we were kind of in the nose-bleed section, pretty far from the stage, but it didn't really matter, it was still really cool to be part of the experience.  The place was packed and the energy level of the audience with the band was contagious.  We had a great time at the show :)

Thanks for being such a great date Kelly!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Fig Tree

Last week Greg was home all.week.long.  That rarely happens!  I had to work, but in the evenings we tried to spend some quality time together.  One night, we decided to have dinner at The Fig Tree.  We've been interested in trying it for a long time, and Greg got me a gift card for my birthday.

The restaurant is in a converted house on 7th Street in Charlotte.


It was a gorgeous evening in Charlotte (right before the insane heat wave hit), so we opted to sit outside on the porch.

I'm not the only one that has trouble keeping eyes open in pictures.


We started with some warm bread which came with both rosemary infused olive oil and roasted garlic spread.


We also ordered an appetizer, a mushroom tarte.



The tarte was followed by a simple but delicious mixed green salad.



The main event for me was the halibut topped with lobster sauce and asparagus.


Oh.my.gosh.  This is the most decadent thing I have had in a while.  What a delicious piece of fish!

Greg got the penne pasta with mushrooms, veggies, and gorganzola.  His was also really good.


It was a wonderful night.  We both really enjoyed the restaurant.  The service was impeccable, the food was outstanding, and the atmosphere is elegant but not stuffy.  We'll definitely be back :)
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