Friday, September 23, 2016

Concussion and Skull Fracture

 So i had a not so pleasant weekend. Baby is fine FYI for everyone who is worried about the baby.

 Friday morning  09/16/2016 at work I was outside getting breakfast from the food truck, felt super dizzy and it wasn't getting better, went in to sit down in the food truck to rest, the lady gave me a cold water bottle i remember taking a sip and then feeling super hot and like tunnel vision. One of the guys that works with us asked me if i'm ok and i remember telling him yes i'll be fine and that is the last thing i remember. Next think i remember is waking up on the ground with coworkers around me and i was saying i'm sorry i'm sorry i'm gonna throw up and then throwing up right there.

It seems I fainted fell out of the truck and hit my head on the concrete floor (left side of my head). They called 911 and i Was transported to medical center of Arlington apparently i asked to be taken there cause that's where my OB is. They did a few CT scans and i was told i fractured a temporal bone, my cheek bone and the base of my skull and there was blood in my brain. They didn't feel they can deal with my facial fractures at that hospital so they transferred me that night to medical center of Plano where they have a level 1 trauma center. I wasn't too pleased at MC of Arlington, they didn't clean my scrapes and i had a few of them, the lack of communication was astounding and they didn't feed me till 6 p.m. cause they don't know if i'm gonna need surgery and i was there since 9 a.m. and when they did give me food it wasn't that good. I had a bruised jaw and can barely chew and they gave me salisbury steak and asparagus. Thank God there was some potatoes i could eat

Plano was much better. i didn't settle in there till 1 a.m. and doctors and nurses came in to check on me about every hour. The trauma doctor came in the morning and said i will repeat the CT scan to make sure the blood spots in my brain are not growing which would mean there is no active bleeding. And he said he reviewed my scans and my fractures are clean fractures meaning the bones didn't shift from their place and they should heal on their own. It will take a while but i won't need any surgeries. So I have Skull fractures, a concussion and a contusion. I have to take anti seizure medicine (keppra) for one month cause the part of my head that I hit is the threshold for seizures. I had several doctors come assess me, ENT, Speech, OBGYN, Internal Medicine, Neurosurgeon, Trauma and Physical Therapy and they all cleared me to go home. The food ordering system is different, they just give you a menu if you have no food restrictions and you call and order your own food like room service in a hotel. My blood pressure dropped a couple of times on Saturday to low 80s and they didn't like that so they kept an eye on me and it went back up to the high 90s later in the day.

The doctor said i can't go back to work till the 26th and my boss was really understanding with that. I was advised to minimize computer and phone screen time so i'm not staying on for more than an hour a day just to catch up with family and keep them updated. I'm sleeping a  lot which is good cause it allows my brain to heal. The neurosurgeon said to expect headaches for at least a month. I have to have an MRI before October 12 cause i have a follow up appointment then to assess how my brain is healing. 

Internal medicine thinks I had low blood pressure I was dehydrated and the heat outside didn't help and that caused the fainting episode. I called my OB to set up an appointment and the nurse said it's common to get dizzy and faint during pregnancy because of the extra blood in your system. I wish someone told me before i would have been more cautious. 

Our families were freaked out but we were able to calm them down when we explained what was going on and after they were able to speak to me and see that i'm ok first hand. A couple of friends from work were nice enough to let hubby know when i fell and to go with me and stay with me at the hospital till Jerry got there. All i remember is the terrified look on Irma's face when i looked at her before i was loaded in the ambulance. 

Also a couple of friends came to visit me on Plano and kept me company while hubby went home to shower and i'm so grateful for those visitors. I also received flowers and stuffed animals at the hospital and at the house. 

While in the hospital they did a couple of ultrasounds to check on the baby and i was told i have wheat's called placenta previa, so my placenta is blocking the baby's way out and if it doesn't move by the time the baby is due i will have to have a c-section no 2 ways about that. So i'm waiting to talk to my OB to see what that's about. 

We are worried about the baby because of all the CT scans i did and the MRI that i will have to do but these are not things i could have refused cause my life could have been in danger. So praying baby was ok through it all. 

Please keep me and the baby in your prayers so this pregnancy goes on without any more hiccups so we can enjoy this miracle that we've been waiting for.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Baby For The Shaffers - Up to Week 12

Blood test confirmed pregnancy on 7/15/2016
Firt Trimester End 09/06/2016
Estimated Due Date 03/21/2016

Friday July 15 - Blood test confirmed that we are pregnant. We are keeping the news in the family right now, only parents and siblings. I'm sure as the days go by we will expand to extended family and very close friends but i feel more comfortable waiting till the end of the first trimester to share on social media. I was really wanting to post everything in my Facebook group as it is happening but with all the uncertainties i only want to share the news once we pass the first hump. it's both my sister's and Jerry's sister's birthday today.

Friday July 22 - been having some pain on my left side, went to the doctor to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. Did an ultrasound, everything looks good, was able to see 1 sac in the uterus with a fetal pole inside. There was also a second sac but it was empty, the technician said my body will just absorb it with tim. It was too early to detect heartbeat since I am only at 5 weeks 3 days today.

Monday July 25 - Tomorrow i will be 6 weeks pregnant and today major nausea kicked in, i had some lentil soup for lunch, couldn't eat my salad... didn't realize it then but this was to be the last good meal i have a for a few weeks.

Tuesday July 26 - Doctor called in a prescription of Zoran for me to help with the nausea and vomiting. Hubby is stocking up on Pedialite and gatorade as it seems i'm gonna be on a liquid diet for a while. Everything tastes the same and water tastes horrible.

Saturday July 30 - I barely have energy to shower and wash my hair so i got it cut shoulder length.

Wednesday July 27 - Still feeling like crap and getting dehydrated. Saw the doctor who sent me to the ER for IV fluids and some tests. Developed PAC (a heart glitch) because of dehydration, may stay throughout pregnancy or may get better, but it's not life threatening.

Tuesday August 2 - My birthday and had the 7 week ultrasound appointment. Everything looks good and we were able to see a Fetal Heart Beat on the monitor, The heart rate was 129 (anything between 120 and 180 is good). Happy Birthday to Me.

Wednesday August 3 - Debbie from the Hannah support group brought me some homemade veggie soup today. Thank God for thoughtful friends.

Thursday August 5 - missed work cause i don't feel well at all. Lost about 7 pounds so far down to 90 lbs. The doctor is saying if i lose any more weight he will have to admit me to the hospital so he prescribed another medicine called Reglan that's supposed to speed up digestion that way food won't stay in my tummy long enough for me to puke it. My boss and my friend Irma got me some Boost and checked on me.

Friday August 6 - so far my food consists of bouillon soup, boiled potatoes, plain cereal, graham crackers, some grapes, bagels, ice popsicles, apple sauce, and cheese. My friend Paulina is bringing me some homemade soup today and cooked apples. I need more fiber in my food i'm suffering.

Saturday August 7 - Can't do much around the house, i go to work and stay as long as i can then come home and lay on the couch. Hubby has been having to fend for himself food wise and everything else around the house.

Friday August 12 - had an ultrasound and the baby is measuring right on track with a heart rate of 174 - started the payment plan with the doctor for the delivery, still taking both medications and now i'm only puking once a day. The Raglan really helps, i take a pill half an hour before i eat and the food stays in my tummy. I'm still only eating bland foods but at least i'm keeping what i eat. Hubby and i have been sleeping in separate rooms since all this sickness started. I go to bed around 8 pm and i wake up several times at night so i didn't want to disrupt his sleep. We don't need 2 zombies around the house. My boss has been quite understanding and supportive in all this. Ive had to use a couple sick days and a vacation day to rest and recover. I think i pretty much used up most of my vacation days with IVF this year.

Friday August 19 - Today i'm 9 weeks 3 days and i'm having more good days than not. Had a doctor appointment today, my first official OB appointment. The doctor used a doppler and I was able to finally hear the baby's heart beat for the first time, it was so fast, the heart rate was 172. We discussed my food, my weight and he feels i may be able to get off the meds in a few weeks as long as i up my water intake and stay hydrated. I've been only able to drink maybe 30 oz of water a day and he wants it closer to 60 oz. All my test results came back from last week and it all looks good; not anemic, no infections, progesterone levels are good. Next appointnemt in a couple of weeks for more blood tests.

Tuesday August 23 - I've been having a couple of good days and not having to wake up to take the zofran at night I thought i would give it a try and skip the zofran for a day; turned out to be not such a good idea. I was doing ok during the day and then by 5 pm on the way home it all went south, I got sick twice, had to take the zofran and the Reglan and I was still nauseous throughout the night till next morning. Woke up with a headache and nausea hasn't eased up. It's gonna be one of those Wednesdays.

Wednesday August 24 - one of the bad days for sickness today. Was nauseated all day. Got sick before I left work and it made me feel all shaky and my heart was racing all through the evening. Took my pills and went to bed after my progesterone shot. 

Friday August 26 - Today I'm gonna start a new medication that's specifically for pregnancy sickness called Diclegis, it's basically a combo of vitamin B6 and Unisom in a time released capsule. they want me to start with 2 capsules at bed time and see how I fair the next day. If that doesn't work I can add 1 additional pill mid morning for a couple of days and if I'm still sick I can add 1 more pill mid afternoon. The maximum dose is 4 pills in 24 hours. The only side effect I'm worried about is the unisom part cause it could make one drowsy and sleepy (it's good at night but not so good during the day). 

Sunday August 28 - Jerry and I had quiet the scare tonight. I bled. I panicked. I puked. We called my doctor's emergency number all they said is to rest and as long as I'm not bleeding to soak a pad an hour to not stress and call the office in the morning to be seen. Needless to say I had a crappy night I woke up every hour to make sure I'm not still bleeding and when I slept that's all I dreamt about. Jerry checked on me about 3 times throughout the night. He's just as worried as I am. Off the doctor in the morning to see what happened and hopefully hear the heartbeat of the baby and make sure everything is ok.

Bleeding with ivf seems to be the norm reading through some of the comments from our Facebook group but it still unnerving.

Monday August 29 - Call the doctor he's in surgeries all day and since bleeding has stopped they scheduled me for an ultrasound tomorrow.

Tuesday August 30 - ultrasound was good, was able to see the baby move and wiggle around and the heartbeat was at 153. Everything looked normal. The placenta has formed, it's anterior, which will make feeling the baby kick and move much harder but it makes no difference for the baby. The doctor's theory is it could be hormones or the placenta attaching that caused the bleed but he didn't see any cause for concern. Next appointment 9/13 for NT scan.

Sunday September 4 - apparently there's another symptom of pregnancy called Dysgeusia where you always have a bad taste in your mouth that persists even when you're not eating. It doesn't matter if you brush your teeth or drink lots of water it's still there. I'm trying to eat some life savers to change the taste but I don't want to eat too much sugar either. 

The good news is 2 more days and I can stop the progesterone shots and the Estrogene patches cause I will officially be 12 weeks.

Tuesday September 6 - today is the last progesterone shot.
Can't believe we made it to 12 weeks. It's like living in a dream. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

California Conceptions Cycle #2 Timeline

05/05/2016 started birth control for cycle #2 and have a blood test tomorrow to make sure the hcg numbers are going down. 

05/06/2016 hcg blood test results came back down to 0 and we can start again as soon as we get a new profile. 

05/27/2016 We were offered a new match and we accepted. Waiting on Valerie to send me a meds calendar. Thankfully I have all my meds already. Will be going for a baseline ultrasound on Tuesday the 31st.  This time around we are hoping for a fresh embryo transfer and it seems it will fall around the 4th of July of weekend. Hopefully I'll get my jury duty notice soon so I can plan my dates. Also this time around I decided to keep the step by step updates a little private to keep my sanity. Hoping this is the one.

05/31/2016 Baseline Ultrasound today, all clear. Will start Lupron today 10 units per day. I started he vitamins same as previous cycle. 

06/02/2016 it seems I developed an allergic reaction to vitamin E, my face is breaking out in hives when I take it so I've stopped those and started taking baby Aspirin instead cause it seems they have the same effect of thinning blood in hopes of improving circulation. 

06/07/2016 started Estrogene patches today and reduced Lupron to 5 units per day.

06/21/2016 Flew to California for my Lining check, it's 9.9 which is great. The hiccup is that the donor was delayed a bit and instead of her cycle day 9 being on the 21st i was told it's now going to be on the 26th. Doctor said this won't be an issue and everything should still be on track for transfer around the first week of July.

06/27/2016 Got a call from the clinic to start progesterone on 06/29/2016 cause our embryo transfer is going to be on 07/04/2016. Hubby gets to go this time since it's around a holiday and he can be off, this makes me so happy. It's going to be a fresh transfer not frozen embryos and this we plan on transferring 2 embryos to maximize our chances. I pray this is the one that is going to work.

06/29/2016 My Last shot of Lupron today and i started progesterone. My bummbumm is not even completely healed from the previous round of shots but here we go again. I'm trying the 23 gauge this time to see if it's better and less painful. Injecting the medicine is much slower but if it helps i want to use these needles.

06/30/2016  Sometimes i really don't understand why things can't go smoothly for  us just for once. The coordinator calls and instead of giving us an embryology update she didn't have a lot of good news. The donor apparently wasn't doing very well and even we expressed our desire to transfer 2 embryos there may be only 1 embryo available for us. She said she will email us a couple of backup profiles (frozen embryos) that we can pick from, like we have a choice, so we picked one, just in case. The fun part is we won't know if we are getting the fresh embryo(s) or the frozen ones until the day of the transfer.  To say i'm disappointed is an understatement. I honestly don't care if it's fresh or frozen we had our heart set on transferring 2 embryos this time around to maximize our chances. The waiting sucks. The not knowing sucks. I just want our baby already.

07/03/2016  Flew to California today, we got lucky since our flight was delayed by 20 minutes not giving us enough time to make our connecting flight so the desk agent bumped us to a direct flight at no extra charge and we made it to California early. 

We were starving so we checked in to the hotel and went for lunch at Applebee's. It's not my favorite place but it's pretty close to the hotel. That'll have to do for now.

Between yesterday and today I missed 2 phone calls from the clinic letting me know of a schedule change so I called and left a message acknowledging the change. They run about an hour late every time anyways so it's not a big deal. Still don't know what profile we well transfer tomorrow.

Met up with 2 awesome ladies from our Facebook group for dinner at Dos Coyotes, lovely ladies, we had a great dinner and great conversations. Kristy was with her hubby so mine didn't feel lonely at the table. It is so amazing how many women are going through similar journeys. We may have different paths, different reasons and different ways of getting there but our goal is the same, to have a baby. 

07/04/2016 Transfer Day!  We woke up, took showers and had breakfast at the hotel to start of the day. Went for a little walk and dropped by the clinic to make sure we are still on schedule. Our appointment was an 11 a.m. arrival so we went back closer to that time. The receptionist informed us that we will be transferring embryos from our backup profile and we were ok with that since that means we can transfer 2 embryos for sure. 

The clinic was running late as usual but at least today we know it's because of the holidays. They were doing the best they can with the staff they had. 

I learned my lesson last time and I didn't binge on water. My bladder was just full enough when I got there, then I just kept taking small sips of water. By the time they called us in about an hour after our scheduled appointment my bladder was ready, it was full without being painful. This time I got to focus on what was happening on th monitor and made small talk with the Doctor. 

The embryologist Ted (Ph.D.) explained that we received 2 grade 2 embryos. They were expanding when they last checked them at 11 a.m. we were closer to 1:00 pm at the time. He told us they thawed beautifully and wanted us to acknowledge that there's a 35% chance of having twins and that on the downside it may not work despite the good looking embryos. At this point we kinda know nothing is a guarantee, we just go with the flow and hope for the best.

We have nicknamed the embryos Firecrackers inspired by the 4th of July.

My beta tests are scheduled for the 13th and the 15th of July. Seems like it's going to take forever to get there but I will try to be patient. 

After the transfer we went out to lunch cause it was well after 1 at this point. We had hamburgers In downtown Davis. The food was really good but the service not so much. The 2 servers that were there were more interested in playing cards with the bartender than asking us if we need more water. 

The city of Davis was having a couple of bike races during the day in celebration of the 4th of July so we walked around a bit and watched the races. Then we headed back to the hotel to rest and do my shot.

Around 8 pm we headed back towards the Community Park where the fireworks were scheduled to take place. We got there and realized we should have brought water, a blanket and some snacks maybe since there were no vendors onsite. I for sure should have brought a light jacket at least. We had fun though. We listened to some music and watched the fireworks.

I hope this is going to be one of the most memorable 4th of July holidays we celebrate. 

On the way back to the hotel we stopped by Carl's Jr and I got me an order of fried zucchini. 
Side note. I've been sleeping well even though I'm waking up often I'm able to fall right back to sleep.
Tomorrow we plan on getting acupuncture then touring a jelly belly factory!! Sweet!!

07/05/2016 Went and got acupuncture this morning since i read it helps with implantation then off we went to Fairfield to tour the Jelly Belly factory. We loved the tour, you can taste the sugar in the air.

07/10/2016 I've been pretty much cramping on and off since the transfer date and today there was some light spotting, hoping it's a good sign.

07/12/2016 I took a home pregnancy test cause I couldn't wait any longer and guess what?!?!?

I still can't believe it!! But we are a long way from being in the clear. Still have to wait for blood tests on the 13th and the 15th but I'm allowing myself to get excited regardless. I want to enjoy all the little milestones after all the wait.

07/13/2016 First HCG Beta is 738!! Twins?? Who knows? Now we wait till Friday and hope the numbers double. 

07/15/2016 Second HCG Beta is 1604 so definitely doubled. All the nurses seem too excited and happy delivering the news, loved it. It's also my sister's and hubby's sister's birthdays today. 

Our first ultrasound is scheduled for August 2nd, coincidentally on my birthday, the coordinator said if all looks well I should be able to stop medications after September 6th and most importantly estimated due date is March 21st which is Mother's Day in Lebanon and my niece's birthday ❤️❤️

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Baby For The Shaffers - Dreaming of Pink and Blue

When I used to day dream of when we would get a positive pregnancy test the scenario in  my head went something like this: I would wake up thinking I'm sure this cycle didn't work (since they never do) but I'll still take the test because that's what you're supposed to do when you go through fertility treatments. After waiting the dreaded 3 minutes I would see the "pregnant" text show up on the home test. I would be so overwhelmed with emotions of happiness I would cry tears of joy; I would surprise my husband with the amazing news in a youtube worthy way and of course We would find an equally unique way to share our news with all our family and friends who have been waiting and praying with us for so many years for this cataclysmic event to unfold. 

In reality however things don't often go the way you imagine they will.

We went to California for a second round of treatment in July of this year (2016). We transferred 2 beautiful (5 day grade 2) embryos on July 4th and we lovingly referred to them as firecrackers, we celebrated our country's independence with music and fireworks and returned home for the dreaded 2 week wait.. And by the way the 2WW is a figurative term cause technically it's more like 10 days. This time around I had abdominal cramping the entire time and around day 6 I spotted a little. Blood test was scheduled for July 13th but since I was too anxious from getting a negative result on the previous cycle I decided to take a home pregnancy test this time around to prepare myself for the results. Woke up at 6 am on 07/12 And took a home pregnancy test. While waiting for the results I kept repeating in my head "please be pregnant, please be pregnant, please be pregnant..."  It's amazing how 3 short minutes can pack so many different emotions. 

Less than a minute into the wait time the window on the test displayed the words I've been dreaming about for 7 long years "pregnant". 

I sat there not knowing what to do with myself. I couldn't believe it was real. Was it finally our turn? I was grinning ear to ear and had to tell someone. 

It was 6:00 a.m. Jerry was still asleep but I had to wake him. I jumped into bed and woke him up asking "do you have a flashlight"? He turned on the iPod flashlight and I shoved the test in front of his squinting eyes; he smiled and hugged me and went back to sleep. Afterwards I just couldn't settle down, I was literally just holding the test and walking around the house not certain what to do next. I made sure to take a picture before the result disappeared (later to find out a positive result stays displayed for 6 months) cause I knew quite a few people would be so thrilled for us when we share the news.

The blood test was the day after and it confirmed it. We were "initially" pregnant. Our ivf clinic said to be cautiously optimistic and I'm thinking can you just let us enjoy the moment? My infertility coordinator at the OB office who's been seeing me for years was literally giggling on the other end of the phone when she told me the results. The first beta test (which measures the hcg levels) was 738 so that's definitely a positive. The second test on Friday confirmed it with a 1604... The clinic wants to see an initial number over 25 and the numbers are supposed to increase about 60% or double every 48 to 72 hours. 

I want to scream it off the roof tops. I'm still in shock. I can't believe we are at this stage. If you told me 2 weeks prior to expect a positive result I would have laughed in your face since Hubby is the optimistic one in our relationship.

Every day since we found out I go through a variety of emotions throughout the day. At times I feel out of breath, I get a mini anxiety attack, a knot in my stomach, disbelief, guilt, and scared it won't last. I hope as time goes by I will learn to embrace the new changes and the good happy feelings will last longer and longer. But for now we are taking it day by day, milestone by milestone.

On one hand I'm over the moon happy and eternally grateful for the best news in my life that I can't even begin to describe how I feel but on the other hand I'm trying to stay cautious since I'm petrified it won't last. I also feel a lot of guilt because there are still many women out there who continue to hope and pray for a similar outcome. Families who may be even more deserving than us. A lot of my friends are still struggling and it breaks my heart that they have to be in that situation. I pray that every family can find peace and a resolution on this journey whatever season they may be in. 

This journey has taken us a lot longer than I ever imagined possible, months turned into years in the blink of an eye, more injections than I can count, more doctors visits than I would ever want and I know it would have seemed even longer and lonelier without the support and prayers of all our family and friends. My Hannah Group support group has been such a great gift that I don't think I could have stayed as optimistic as I am without their constant prayers on our behalf.

I still can't believe I'm typing these words but with a little bit of faith and a little bit of science we are so overjoyed and blessed to finally share with you some God sent good news that we are expecting a baby due March 2017 and we hope you will stick around to share with us the rest of this roller coaster ride.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Starbucks You are Here mugs collection

If we are friends on Facebook or Instagram you've seen some of my Starbucks You Are Here Collection mugs. These are mugs that were and continue to be released by Starbucks in specific countries, states and cities. You can only get them from the cities/countries they are released in. So you either have to visit or be lucky like me and have friends all over who are willing to buy them and ship them to you.

There are I believe 67 North American designs,There are a few Canadian ones and  they've recently started releasing mugs in Europe and some middle eastern countries since my sister got me a Dubai mug.

I've only purchased a handful of these mugs most of them were sent or given to me by friends.

I don't have the desire to collect all the mugs I just want the ones I love and that I think are pretty. And honestly I don't even consider them collectibles since we use them on a daily basis. We have a few out that we use for a while then I put them back in boxes and get other ones out.

I'm keeping a few of them like Denver, Niagara Falls, Oklahoma... cause i want to try and try get them myself. I know we will visit Denver so that one is kinda in the bag but the others we need to make plans for some day.