Saturday, December 22, 2012

A bittersweet graduation

Well, we've graduated from Shady Grove. The verb graduated sounds odd in conjunction with a fertility clinic. It just does. While we were smiling and authentically thankful to be taking the next step toward a regular, traditional pregnancy experience, it was sad to say goodbye to Dr. Sasson and the nurses whom have walked with us through the past few months.

We were able to see the baby via ultrasound again today and we could hear the heartbeat too--- 170 beats per minute:) Today we could see legs, arms, and the beginnings of a facial profile. The creation and growth of human life is absolutely miraculous; tears all around again today. I don't think I will ever get tired of staring at the image of our future baby (even if it does look a bit like an alien).

We were given exit instructions and a medication protocol. I will continue until January 3rd with the estrogen and progesterone meds and then wean off them completely. Dr. Sasson said, "You guys have to realize that you have now made it to the 5% miscarriage rate time; this is about as good as it can get for you. You need to have faith that the baby is not going anywhere. You should start treating this pregnancy in the same way any other person who did not go through fertility would treat it. The bottom line is that you guys are now completely normal!"

Of course he said the last line with a smile. He was trying to ease our fears and get us to view this pregnancy as not being a high risk one. While I am comforted by his optimism and encouragement, it is hard for me to look at this experience as anywhere near normal.

I guess the best way for me to view it is that while the journey to conception was a difficult one, the actual pregnancy is the same as any other, but still unique and new to us.

A few of my close friends have asked if I am going to tell more people about the pregnancy yet. Shockingly, internet world, we have not told our siblings and families beyond our parents to this point. Christmas is only three days away and it would be a fun time to share the news. At the same time, we are not to 12 weeks yet (the suggested milestone when couples should feel safe to share). But then again, not every pregnant couple has had perfect embryo selection and three confirmation ultrasounds by week 9.

What is the final verdict? I think we will tell our siblings but still keep it under wraps from anyone else until week 12. But who knows... my overwhelming Christmas spirit might dissuade our plan:)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

'Tis the Season

'Tis the Season... for laziness! I apologize; I have not posted in over a week. I have a lack of ambition when it comes to basically anything. It is so weird! Normally, I can be compared to a tornado, constantly moving and aggressively working to wipe out my to-do list.

For about the last week, I have napped almost every day. For me, this is extremely strange. I am not a napper! And what's even more crazy is that I don't even intend to nap; I sit down on the couch and in less than five minutes, I'm out!

My nausea is still hanging around; I don't really feel hungry for anything. This friends, might be the biggest change of all! I am such a foodie. I start thinking about what delicious meal I plan to make for dinner at around 10 AM. With regard to Christmas meals, I usually start dreaming about prime rib and shrimp at the beginning of November. Now, even as I type, the typing of the word shrimp makes me scrunch up my nose in disgust. What is going on here!?

Just to solidify my point about my laziness: it's 4:19 PM and I am still in my pjs. Yes, this was one productive day. However, I do not want to complain; this is the best nausea I've encountered in my entire life! And, I've never heard of anyone dying from too many naps.

We had another check in with Dr. Sasson on Friday. The second ultrasound was even more fun because the baby doubled in size in just a week. The very second Dr. Sasson turned on the machine, we were able to see the "blob" on the screen. Hearing and seeing the heartbeat again solidified the truth that there is something in there!

We head back to Shady Grove this Friday for one final visit. It is bittersweet for sure. I have grown so attached to Dr. Sasson and the staff at Shady Grove, yet I am thrilled to be at the point where we are "graduating" from that clinic.

Chris and I were talking about what we could give to Dr. Sasson and the nurses as a thank-you. What do you give to people who have given you such a gift? I have a difficult time even expressing my thanks verbally let alone a tangible gift.

In the same moment, I think about my Heavenly Father who orchestrated it all, the mastermind behind IVF and our journey to parenthood. What can I give Him? How can I praise Him enough for the joy that He has allowed us to experience this Christmas?

I can give Him Baby Knipe. I promise to raise this child to have a heart for God and to glorify Him in all things. That pledge is about the best that I can offer.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Teeny, tiny, blinking heart!

It's been a few days since I have posted. The combination of holiday busyness and the general feeling of nausea that I have been experiencing of late can be be attributed to my lack of blog productivity. Sorry!

To get you up to speed, I will recap Friday's visit to Shady Grove. To be honest, Chris and I arrived to see Dr. Sasson with the almost certainty that we were pregnant with twins. I didn't post much about this just because I wanted to wait until we had ultrasound confirmation. Dr. Sasson told me multiple times that my high HCG levels were indicative of multiple births. That added to the known fact that we chose a two-embryo transfer contributed to Chris and my near certainty that I was carrying twins.

We arrived at the office and were taken back to the ultrasound room. Dr. Sasson eagerly greeted us; he said that if we were lucky, we would get to see a heartbeat on the screen. Apparently, at around six weeks, the heart starts beating. Last Friday, I was six weeks and one day, so we were hopeful that we would get to see an actual heartbeat.

The more pressing question was how many heartbeats we might be able to see. For a solid two minutes, Dr. Sasson looked around my uterus and didn't say anything. I was rigidly staring at the screen, praying that something would be in there! He kept telling me to breathe.

Breathe? Yeah, right! I was staring at the screen, anxiously awaiting some blob or mass that could be a baby.

And then, I saw it--- a teeny tiny flickering heart inside a sac. Even though I could barely see the form of a baby, seeing a beating heart was enough to bring us to tears.

Dr. Sasson did some more searching and didn't see another sac or another heartbeat. He did believe that two embryos originally implanted because my early HCG numbers were so high. However, at some point in the last week, we lost one of the babies.

I wrote in an earlier post that I never imagined I would be disappointed after hearing I was actually pregnant. But to be honest, my heart did sink a bit because Chris and I so definitely thought we would be adding two babies to our family this summer. At the same time, we were thrilled to have seen one heartbeat. It was such an odd, contradictory, happy-sad emotion, one that I have not exactly felt before.

Dr. Sasson spoke with us a while longer and covered the medications I need to continue to take (continue Estrogen and Progesterone twice daily until I reach eight weeks) and he went over my restrictions. At this point, he advised that I not do an strenuous activities, especially any activity that could be jolting. So it looks like I am going to be a walker for the next few weeks.

We will have another ultrasound this Friday and then another next Friday. After our third total ultrasound, we will "graduate" from Shady Grove. Weird, but good. I can't imagine not having Dr. Sasson be a part of my pregnancy and delivery, as he has been such an integral part in getting us to this point. However, he assured us that he will be speaking with my Williamsport OBGYN to get him/her up to speed.

Today, a few days after our first ultrasound, Chris and I have been able to process and work through our sadness over the lost baby, and we have been able to start gearing up for the unbelievable, incredible realization that I AM pregnant; this summer, we are going to hold a real, live baby!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


It's been about ten days since we got the official word on our positive pregnancy. I still pause throughout the day to revel in the joy that we will have a new addition to our family this summer. I have to say, it's been hard keeping my joy from bubbling up to the surface publicly. This secret-keeping thing is hard! I can keep secrets when they are serious, or when they must be prayed over. However, it's the exciting secrets that are hard ones to keep.

I actually had a flashback to age eight, when my parents told my brothers and me that they were pregnant with my sister. I so vividly remember the conversation. It was a weeknight. We were eating spaghetti and meatballs. My parents were seated at opposite ends of the table, whilst Ben, Dan, and I fought over who would get the last piece of garlic bread. I remember my parents being particularly quiet.

Mom: Your father has something he wants to tell you.

Dad: No, your mom has something to tell you.

Ben: Tell us what?  Are we finally getting horses for in the barn? (Side note: Prior to my parent's announcement of a new baby for our family, my brothers and I spent weeks cleaning out the barn with the promise of two horses and a pasture being held over our heads by our parents).

Mom: No, you're not getting horses. You are going to get another brother or sister. I am pregnant.

Neither one of my parents looked overjoyed at this proclamation  Instead, they sat at the table, quietly, still in disbelief that they would be adding a tag-along-kid to the Meckbach clan.

I, conversely  jumped out of my chair and proceeded to do cartwheels in the kitchen, screaming at the top of my lungs! At last, after years of being beat up, tortured, and teased, I would get to have a younger sibling to smother-mother. Both Dan and Ben seemed less than amused. In fact, Ben, being thirteen, was able to connect the dots that yes, his parents, actually did have sex. Gross. Dan, on the other hand, demanded that this new baby be a boy; if it was a girl, he was having no part in it. And, he insisted we better still be getting the horses.**

I remember my mom tucking me into bed that night. She talked about secrets and how this new baby was going to be a just-for-our-family-to-know secret for a while longer. I promised not to tell ANYONE, not even my bus driver, or my grandmother. 

Well, I was able to successfully keep the secret for nine hours (while sleeping). The next day, I announced to everyone at Loyalsock Valley Elementary School that my mom was pregnant!

The next night, after getting multiple congratulatory phone calls, my mom sat me down and asked me if I had told anyone that she was pregnant. Yikes. I was caught. I told her that I did and waited for some kind of punishment.

It never came. I think my mom realized that the secret of a new life added to our family was just too big for an eight year old future-older-sister-to-be to keep.

And so here I am, twenty years later, attempting to keep my own secret. 

Tomorrow, we head down to Shady Grove for our first ultrasound. I am excited to for once, actually see something in my uterus! For months, I have been staring at an empty uterus on the screen, looking at a literal void that I so figuratively felt. I have a feeling that I will be talking to the screen, similarly to the way I spoke to the Expectant Mother Parking Sign: Take that!

We will also be finding out whether we have one or two babies. I have been praying that God would help us get a handle on this situation. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be disappointed at finding out I was pregnant with one baby. It is hard now, however, because we know there is a chance that two babies are growing inside of me. It is difficult to control our expectations when we know way more about embryos and the reproductive process than we should.

And so the reminder hits me once more, that God has so perfectly carved for us His plan for our parenthood. He knows what we can handle and what is best for our lives, right here and right now. Even in our unknown, He is there and He knows all.

**Just in case you were wondering, we never did get the horses. But to this day, my sweet Carolyn is a way better gift!