Sunday, January 01, 2012

Our Christmas Cruise - Getting There

As we scheduled this last FET, I was very conscious of the fact that we would find out whether or not it worked just a couple of weeks before Christmas. Having had two failures in a row, the thought of spending Christmas at home after a negative (or worse, another chemical pregnancy/early miscarriage) was too depressing for words. So we decided to go somewhere really fabulous! We debated where to go for a while - Eric wanted to go somewhere wintery and I wanted somewhere warm and tropical. We talked about Italy, London or Paris. There were some really good prices, but in the end we decided Europe wouldn't be ideal with a 6 year old tagging along. I have always wanted to go on a cruise and had never been on one, so I started researching cruise lines that would be kid friendly and fun for all of us. Some of our friends go on Disney cruises and I thought that sounded like a great idea for Christmas. Eric took some convincing, but he finally came around (I think he had pity on me for going through another cycle - good man) and I booked the trip! It was so nice something to look forward to even if the FET was unsuccessful; it was the perfect distraction and gave me something else to obsess about. Happily, it was the cycle we'd been waiting for! When I told him our plans my RE was not super excited about me taking such a long trip in early pregnancy, but too bad for him. I was the one with the morning sickness. ;)

After weeks of excitement and preparation, it was finally time to go! The Disney Magic was set to sail on Christmas Eve so we left on December 22 for our two day road trip to Port Canaveral. Here's Sawyer looking pretty comfy in the backseat.
We got up early to take the dogs to the kennel. Sawyer shed a few tears when we dropped them off, which I was not expecting. I guess I didn't do a good job preparing him for the fact that Duncan and Penny weren't coming with us on Mickey's boat. But we reassured him that they would have fun making new dog friends and we would pick them up again soon. Back home we finished loading up the car, and then we were on our way. After about an hour the trip was going great...and then we had a tire blowout on I-95 near Stafford! Not awesome. Thankfully Eric was able to pull over safely and we were all OK.
He got the spare on and we drove to a nearby Honda dealer to get some new tires. All of this set us back about 3 hours. While we were waiting the dealership gave us a ride over to a Perkins to grab some lunch. We realized as we ate that it was the same Perkins we went to a few years ago when Grandy's car caught on fire on the way to the beach. I suspect that Stafford is some kind of Bermuda Triangle for car trouble (conspiracy between the nearby Honda dealership and Perkins?) Finally we were ready to get back on the road.

We kept going without any more incidents despite a few near misses thanks to some insanely horrible drivers on I-95. Why is it that driving to the beaches brings out the crazy in everyone? Sawyer watched movies on his portable DVD player and Eric and I attempted to listen to the audiobook for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I say "attempted" because we both were so bored by it that I fell asleep and Eric almost did. I tried and tried to like that book when I read it and just couldn't get into it, and listening wasn't any better. (Later we saw the movie and really enjoyed it, so that's good, I guess we're not totally dead inside.)

We stopped for dinner at Chick-Fil-A (one of the few fast food places I could stomach with my “morning” sickness) in a small town in North or South Carolina. Sawyer had a blast climbing on the indoor playground after sitting in the car for so long...until he climbed too high and got stuck at the very top. It was the tallest playground I’ve ever seen and the next level beneath him was a good 2 or 3 foot drop from where he was - I didn’t blame him for being scared to come back down! I had to climb up to him and coax him down.

Finally around 10:00 we arrived in Charleston, our stopping point for the night. Not exactly on our way to Florida, but we’ve always wanted to visit there so we thought it was worth taking a bit of a longer route. We were all exhausted so we gave Sawyer a quick bath and crashed.

Our hotel room

Bath time after all day in the car

In the morning Eric took Sawyer out for breakfast and let me sleep in a bit. They came back with a hot chocolate for me. Eric said as they were walking down the street next to our hotel an older man approached him and said “You look like you’re looking for breakfast! Let me show you my favorite place!” and then proceeded to walk with them several blocks to a little pastry shop/diner. Later as we were headed out of town we pulled over on a side street to enter an address into the GPS. We'd been pulled over for maybe 10 seconds when a car pulled up next to us and the lady in it asked if we needed directions with a big smile. Charleston might be the friendliest place we've ever visited.

Pretty Christmas tree in the hotel lobby

We loved our quick stay in Charleston and were sad not to be able to spend more time there. But our ship awaited, so soon we were continuing on our way to Florida. Sawyer started getting a little more bored during the second day so I broke out my secret weapon: lollipops. And of course the fabulous sunglasses my sister-in-law bedazzled for me. And his pirate patch and hat that we packed for Pirate Night on the cruise. The only way to travel!

The craziness on the road continued when we were sitting in traffic and someone got rear-ended behind us. Nothing like seeing an accident happen right next to you. The only way we avoided it is because Eric saw it happening and drove off the road. Scary!

Late in the morning I started having pain in my lower left side - a sharp, throbbing pain. I thought maybe I was just sitting weirdly and ignored it, but it got worse as the hours went by. We stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel and while we were there I got on Facebook to ask some of my Shady Grove friends for advice. They all said to call my nurse, but I knew what she would tell me - go to the ER. I wanted to avoid that if possible so we decided to wait and see if it got worse. It wasn't horribly painful, just annoying. We kept on driving and arrived a Cocoa Beach around 5:00 when it was still light outside. It was so exciting to see the docked cruise ships and feel the ocean breeze when we rolled down the windows. We checked into our hotel and Eric asked how I was doing after being out of the car for a while. Unfortunately the pain was still there, and it had gotten worse. So we went to the ER. Just how every vacation should start!

NOT my happiest time. I took this photo around 11 pm, after I had already been there for 5 hours, still waiting to get a sonogram. I made the mistake of not having dinner before going to the hospital and I was not feeling so great; skipping a meal during early pregnancy is the worst. Once I got through triage the admitting doctor was worried about a possible heterotopic pregnancy so they wanted to check and make sure my tubes were clear and the baby was OK. Finally they got me in with a sonographer, which was one of the less awesome medical experiences I've had. She had me hold and insert the wand myself (which I'm sure is to protect the hospital against allegations but it was WEIRD) and then told me she doesn't have any kids and can't believe anyone wants them. AFTER I had already told her this was an IVF pregnancy. Nice. Then when she visualized the baby she said "Wow, this doesn't look's really really only 6 or 7 weeks." When my heart started beating again I told her once again that I WAS only 6 weeks along (and with great restraint I omitted the "dumbass!" at the end.) She couldn't find a source for the pain, but she did locate a small subchorionic hematoma - which was weird because I wasn't bleeding. She thought I might be having pain because of a corpus luteum (cyst on the ovary) and I tried to explain to her that with a frozen embryo transfer there is no corpus luteum because ovulation does not take place. She had no idea what I was talking about and looked at me like I had two heads. Not the best feeling to realize you have more medical knowledge than the expert that's helping you (I could just picture my RE saying "I told you so!")... ANYWAY the good news was the baby looked fine, and we saw a nice strong heartbeat! I was still having pain but felt so relieved and tired that I just wanted to get back to the hotel to sleep. Eric and Sawyer came and picked me up.

I had one of the worst nights of sleep ever. In the morning the pain was still there and we had to decide if we should still go on the cruise. Even though at the ER they said everything was fine and I was OK to travel, I was not encouraged by my experience there that they 100% knew what they were talking about. I asked Eric for a blessing and after that felt much better about going. Eric felt peaceful about it we were off!

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