26 Week OB Appointment and Scan – The 411


Yesterday, I had my 26 week OB appointment with Dr. Karamitsos.   I have gained 4 pounds this pregnancy and the baby is doing incredible.  She is very active and her heartbeat is strong, 165 bpm.   Dr. K put in a script for Vitapearl with DHA prenatals, ordered a CBC panel, vitamin/ protein level check, and tsh in the lab.  While I went to the lab, Dr. K ordered a copy of my last sonogram record so that he could double check to make sure everything was good.  I went downstairs to the lab, got my blood work and requested to see my Internist, Dr. Witt to say hello when done.  Dr. Witt sent for me and when he saw me, gave me huge hug.  I haven’t seen him this year and will not see him for my annual until September.  I went back upstairs and waited for Dr. K and he came out and told me everything is good and if I have any problems, I can just walk in to see him.  Next visit, I get my whooping cough vaccine and I have to now see him every two weeks until the end of August and then I have to come weekly.
This morning at 8 am, I had my sonogram for 26 weeks. I was disappointed when found out that we are doing a vaginal and a normal tummy sono.

The baby was very active during the sonogram, as I kept saying, she is sideways across my tummy instead of up and down like she was…  The sonogram shows that she weighs 1.12 pounds and she has a strong heartbeat. My amniotic fluid level is great and measurements were taken of the baby’s head and limbs.  During the transvaginal ultrasound, which HURT, it shows that my placenta previa is still there.   Hopefully it will move up, but honestly, it does not matter since I am having a scheduled cesarean.

After leaving my appointment, I stopped by the office for my health insurance company and dropped off a letter they needed with my estimated due date so that they could add the baby to my insurance plan.

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IVF # 5 – Blood Clot – The 411

ivf 5 - blood clot

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So, I spent the night after retrieval in excruciating pain.  First it was the awful gas bubbles in my tummy that were trapped and had no where to go.  I was ridiculously uncomfortable.  I way lying in bed and then noticed the backs of my knees were also hurting pretty bad.  I could not get comfortable and  my right knee pain was radiating down into my calf.  I was finally able to fall asleep after the Dulcolax I took earlier in the day kicked in.  I was still bloated and the abdomen was distended and my legs ached.  I told my camera man to keep an eye on me and if he noticed my breathing change to call 911 immediately.

I talked to my nurse when she called with the fertilization report and she suggested I go to Albany Medical Center.

When the camera crew was leaving, I arranged for a cab to come pick me up to and take me to the emergency room. I got there in about 20 mins, checked in and waited for a room.  I was seen by an ER doc and then sent to radiology in the middle of his interview.  I gave him my list of meds that CNY printed out for me to take over the next few days and off I was rolled to radiology.  That was THE longest ride ever !  I had a doppler done of the groin and both legs and the scan did not show anything above the knee.   After I was done, I was rolled back to the room #13 that I was previously in and two more ER docs and an assistant came in shortly after and explained that doppler scans and xrays do not show much below the knee and that it was suspected that I had a clot in the right leg in the calf. The good thing was that the Lovenox was started again after egg retrieval, so it will help dissolve any clots, being that it works very quickly, unlike Cumadin and other blood thinners that take days to build up in the system.  Lovenox begins to work within two hours of the injection. Next, the insurance coordinator came in and got my information, registered me, and took copies of my insurance card and id.  I relaxed on the cot and watched television for two more hours before they finally let me go.  It took AN HOUR for a cab (after calling 2 different companies) to show up to pick me up and take me back to the hotel.  I ordered pizza on the way back and it arrived within 20 mins of my return.

I was instructed to walk several times a day to increase blood flow and to monitor for various symptoms.

The leg pain was gone by last night before bed, so I was happy about that.  The bloating has done down some and I am no longer in pain.

This morning, I got up an inserted the estrace, Endometrin, did the PIO injection, took the antibiotic, and later took the Prednisone, Claritin, and prenatal vitamin.  I have to insert the Estrace three times a day and the Endometrin twice a day.  I was going to do the Delestrogen, but since my elevated hormone levels are the cause of the blood clot, I will just stick to the vaginal dosage.

Tomorrow, I have to report to CNY Fertility Center and Spa in Albany at 9 am for acupuncture and then I will be having my transfer of prayerfully all three of my embryos at 10:30 am.  I called today, but they do not check the embryos again until tomorrow so I am praying and hoping all three of them are still with us and growing and dividing strongly.  I won’t know about the 4th one until tomorrow either.  I have had dreams about three and so has my mom, so I am going to go with THREE !

IVF #5 – Stim Day 19 – The 411

ivf 5 - keep calm stim on bear

19 days and counting…. Just two more days of stims and then hopefully Thursday night is trigger #1 and Friday is trigger #2 and then I can get these little eggs out of me before my babies come out looking like Benjamin Button ! lol

I did my normal injections this morning of Ganirelix, Lovenox and Neupogen.  I took the 20mg of Prednisone, Claritin, and also took my prenatal vitamin.  This afternoon, I took the Folate and also the Synthroid.  I will inject Gonal-F tonight (ran out of Follistim and the two are interchangeable) and the Menopur.  I have a pm prenatal that I take along with more Prednisone and the Vitamin D emulsion.

I just packed up my clothing, shoes, notes for my book, sheets, and heating pad into a box and have it sitting waiting on FedEx to pick it up and ship it ahead to the hotel.  I am elated to not have to drag luggage with me all around New York while I am in the city for the funerals.  I will leave from the funeral and head to midtown, grab lunch in Penn Station or nearby and then hop on the train to Albany.  It will be nice to be in a quiet hotel suite, equipped with a full kitchen, and no grandmom to ask me every five minutes if there is something she can help me do !  Thank you Jesus !   🙂    She means well, but at times, it is taxing. I wish she could do some of my writing so that I can take a nap LOL.

Today, my mom had her first radiation treatment.   All went well and we met with the doctor afterwards. I took her to lunch at PF Chang’s and then home we went.  After she worked for a while, I made her go to bed to take a nap and rest.   She is probably downstairs on her Ipad or cellphone playing around on Facebook lol.

In regards to my swelling ovaries, I spoke too soon !  Those things seem to start filling up late last night about 11-12 and felt like they were being blown up a bit kinda like a balloon for several hours.  It was so noticeable that I could not sleep from the discomfort.  My tummy is now a bit distended so I am hoping that nothing is growing out of proportion or too fast and I end up having the surgery on Friday.  I was looking forward to having all day Friday to relax and maybe catch a movie at the mall up the street from the hotel, hang out in the huge Border’s Bookstore and get a juicy burger from Five Guys in the food court.   Hopefully I will be able to get that in.

More tomorrow after my scan…. I am going to take a nap before I have to go to infertility support group meeting tonight !

IVF #5 – Stim Day 18 – The 411

ivf 5 - thou shall respect the stim

Today is the 18th day of stims.  I went in this morning for monitoring and blood work.  I have 11 follicles on the right and two on the left according to the technician who did today’s scan.  I have not logged into the patient portal as of yet to read the follicular report, so I am just regurgitating what was told to me this morning.

I did my morning injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox (which is causing to me to bleed from the little scabs on my tummy where I have been injecting the past 18 days) and the Neupogen.  I took my synthroid today, which I have been taking every 2-3 days because my TSH plummets when I take it daily and I also took the prednisone, prenatal vitamin and Claritin.

This evening, I will take my vitamin d emulsion and inject the Menopur and Follistim.  I will also take the second dosage of Prednisone.

So far, I do not have that overly full ovary feel that I am used to having.  By now, on the other protocol, I would have had a hard time sitting up straight by now.  My nurse said my largest follicle is 17 mm so I have a little ways to go.  I am scheduled to trigger on Thursday and my retrieval will be on Saturday morning.  I assume that my transfer will be on Tuesday or Wednesday.  I am not doing a five day transfer, but a three.  I want to get back and spend Mother’s Day with my mom.

ivf 5 - stim day 18 scan

I am relieved that my uncle is going to come get my grandmother the day before I leave for New York and keep her until I return.  My mom started radiation this week (tomorrow is the 1st actual radiation as today was just practice) and I was worried about how the radiation will affect her.  My grandmother is a sneaky little thing and if left unattended (while my mom is asleep) she will plunder throughout the house or do things she knows she is not supposed to do, like feed her dog my $23 pot roast complete with rice and gravy, as my mom caught her doing while I was at the theater on Sunday, lol !

It is akin to having an 83 year old child in the house.  You can not leave your mail or documents lying around unless you want them read.  Alzheimers or dementia causes the elderly to become extremely suspicious.  I am not exactly sure what it is she thinks she is going to find…. It drives me mother crazy and I find it hilarious.  Well, I found her antics funny until she fed that damned dog my pot roast !  I made the pot roast for myself and got a really good cut.  I gave my dog and her dog what was left over on my plate that I had as an early lunch, so I guess in her mind that translated to FEED THE DOGS POT ROAST !  When my mom came into the kitchen, my grandmom was preparing a plate for her dog and almost jumped out of her skin when she got “caught”.  She knew I was gone because she can see me pull out of the garage and out of the driveway from her room.  I think she assumed my mom was with me and she was at home alone lol.   We have cameras up all over the house so even when away, we can see what she is doing.

I am excited to report that tomorrow is the first day of filming for my cooking show. I got my final SAG documents today and I faxed them my taft hartley paperwork so that I can get my SAG AFTRA card.  I got a cute grey and white pj set to cook in.  I only wish my make up artist were here to beat my face, but for a cooking show, I can pretty much handle a simple make up job.   I can not wait for you guys to see my logo !   🙂

Have a great evening ~

IVF # 5 – Stim Day 17 – The 411

ivf 5 - stimmy day

Today is stim day 17 of my fifth stim cycle !!  WOW !! That is a long time… 28 days of being on some type of hormone, developing and cultivating follicle and eggs and still three more days of injections to go at least before we can pull these bad boys out !  I just hope my babies do not come out looking like they are Benjamin Button because I have been making the eggs so long LOL.

This morning, I did my injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox, and Neupogen.  I took 20 mg of Prednisone and one prenatal vitamin.  I later took the optimized folate and a Claritin.   The vitamin d emulsion, I take with dinner and then in the evening around 6pm, I inject the Follistim and Menopur.

I decided to do a me’date day and I took me to the movies.  A friend of mine, Terrell Tilford, is starring in the new film, Blackbird, so I went to the Arclight Theater in Bethesda to see it.  Nice theater !  I love the fact that theaters have full bars in them now.  I of course indulged in a glass of Moscato and a little bucket of popcorn with butter.   I won’t be able to drink for the next year or two so, hey.. enjoying it while I can !

I just whipped up some vanilla bean butter cupcakes the other night so I finally got around to making browned butter frosting to top them.  Saturday morning at 1 am, I was restless and craving sweets, so I came down into the kitchen and whipped up cupcakes.  I ate one and went back upstairs and climbed in the bed !

I am going to spend the rest of the evening writing my book. I am finally getting somewhere with it.I will be glad when I have all the chapters outlined an underway.  Then I will work on figuring out which recipes I will put in the book at the end.  I am simultaneously working on another cookbook.  I am going to create a second edition of my first best selling cookbook and renaming it.

I have a crazy week ahead !  My mom starts radiation tomorrow a few hours after my monitoring appointment.  I have to come back in and pack and box up the clothes and things I am shipping to Albany and get Fedex to pick it up along with the frozen waffles and pancakes I put up to ship to friends in California.  I am actually glad that I am shipping my things to the hotel so that I do not have to lug a suitcase around New York City on Thursday prior to hopping on a train to Albany that afternoon.  I will not get into Albany until around 7pm on Thursday and will have to report to the clinic at 8 am, if all goes as planned.  On Tuesday, we will be filming the first episode of Valerie The Pajama Chef, my cooking show.  I have to pick out some new pjs tomorrow at the mall for the shoot…  I am nervous and excited at the same time !  Wednesday, I have monitoring and then I am leaving for New York on Thursday and will leave from the city for a week in Albany.  Busy week indeed !

Have a great night everyone !!

IVF # 5 – Stim Day 14 – The 411

ivf 5 - keep calm and stim like a champ

Today is stim day 14… I am starting to wonder if we are ever going to get to the end of stims !  I do not feel the “full” feeling I get when my ovaries are about to burst with follicles.  I can not wait, actually yes I can, to get to that point.  Stimming slow and steady is the best way to get quality eggs so I am being patient.

I have been so stressed out the last few days.  One best friend losing her son and grandmom at 10pm the SAME night on Monday, My godmother and mother both undergoing cancer treatment, and my best friend, actor, Gary Anthony Sturgis, has finally gone public with his mother’s stage four cancer diagnosis.  He finally got his mom to tell her siblings and now he was talked about it publicly, so I feel heartbroken for him, but at the same time relieved that he will have additional support.  Cancer SUCKS rocks !  In the midst of all of this mortality, I am trying to create life.  It seems strange.

In better news, my agent and I are submitting the final (although it is really just the beginning phase) mock ups of my reality tv project.  I am excited about the possibility of this show about my life, my struggles and the fertility struggle so many women and men face that I get to put a face on, being on national television !  I also know what this exposure can do for my career and other projects I want to launch in the future.  I am trusting God to open the right doors to the right people at the right time !

I am so eternally grateful for the opportunity to even be able to take this journey and I would be remiss to not thank God for His faithfulness because there are so many who would not be able to even dream of doing what I have done this past year.

I did my AM injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox, and Neupogen.  Tonight, I will inject 175 units of Follistim and 37.5 units of Menopur.

ivf - menopur  IVF 5 - Follistim  ivf 5 stim day 4 neupogen  IVF 5 stim day 2             Vitamin D emulsion

Tomorrow morning, I have another blood draw and sonogram.  Prayerfully there will be a little growth in the follicles, but not too much of a leap !  I want all the little ones to grow to the same size as the larger ones so that I have plenty of quality eggs to transfer back next week !

In the mean time, I am working on little gifts for the staff at the clinic.  I bough EOS balms and made cute hand tags that say “You Are The BALM!”  Thanks !.  I also got peanut M&Ms and put hand tags that say ” Thank You For Helping Make My Little Peanut (s) !”.  I also had Banana Bakery out of Dallas Texas make medical themed cookies that say thanks on them and they are shipping the cookies to my hotel in Albany to arrive next week and they are already hand wrapped individually.

To keep my mind occupied, I have been making flour with hard white wheat berries and baking and my team and I are working on the launch of Valerie The Pajama Chef, my cooking show.  You can pull up my flour escapades on Youtube that I shot with my cellphone LOL.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8jkyWBJWp8

I am headed downstairs to my kitchen now to make mile high buttermilk biscuits !  I am craving them, so I am making them and will go get some molasses  🙂   I know I am supposed to be doing gluten free, but one little biscuit is not gonna hurt much !  With all the hell going on around me, I deserve one little biscuit right?  🙂