Pregnancy Update

I’ve reached 22 weeks! I can’t believe that I am past the midway point. Time feels like it is passing faster now which is a relief because those first 12 weeks of pregnancy seemed to creep by in a torturous fashion. Something exciting also happened over the last week- I actually started feeling well. I have not thrown up in two weeks and have not had a migraine for a week. Both records for me! I really thought the constant vomiting was never going to end. I am trying to appreciate and take advantage of feeling like me again. Hubby and I took a weekend trip to Rhode Island last weekend which was just what we needed to relax and reconnect. We also have the baby registry almost complete and decided on a crib. I’m still a little hesitant to buy the crib or any other big purchases for that matter. My new pregnancy goal is to reach 24 weeks as I’ve read that is when hospitals will provide intensive medical intervention to save a baby if something goes wrong. I guess the trauma of the miscarriage has not left me entirely. I am starting to really believe we will meet our little girl in March though and we are very close to finalizing her name. I know nothing is a definite though so I try to not take one day with her for granted. My belly is also growing at rapid speed. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and am taken aback at how much my body has changed. Pregnancy is truly an amazing thing.

Some other changes include hubby making a big career change this week and my parents selling my childhood home. It really feels like so many things are changing at once and I’m beginning a whole new stage in my life. It’s an odd feeling because I felt like for so long we were stuck in never ending cycles of infertility treatment and not moving forward. Now it feels like we are speeding ahead and it’s very exciting. I haven’t felt this happy in a long time.

I’m also always thinking and sending prayers to those going through fertility treatment. I so badly want you all to win your battles with infertility. I want you all to experience happiness and peace through this process.

Celebration and Remembrance

The anatomy scan was amazing- we got to see baby’s brain, spine, bones, the four chambers of the heart, among other things. We also found out baby is a girl as we had guessed! We are so excited to meet her in March and even more overjoyed that she is healthy. The rest of the day Wednesday was a whirlwind. We had a whole day dedicated to celebrating our girl. We went for lunch, picked out the most adorable little newborn hat to commerate the day, told our very excited family with pink cupcakes and started the gift registry. It could not have been a better day.

While I am so excited to share our news about baby girl, I also wanted to blog today about the baby we lost. I have been thinking a lot about baby number one recently. While my heart is so filled with love with the baby growing in my belly, I do realize that my same body could have been giving birth to a different baby any day now. You see baby one was due tomorrow- October 17th. It’s a weird thought to think I could already have a baby in my arms or be anxiously awaiting its arrival. If I think about this too much, I feel a sense of internal conflict. It’s an odd thing to miss something while also feeling like everything is right in the world at this very moment. What has brought me a lot of peace about baby number one is thinking of him or her as an angel. I told my husband a few weeks, I feel like both us and our baby have an angel watching over us and our current pregnancy. I truly feel in my heart that this is true. I also keep thinking our little girl will always have a special angel by her side. While my heart will always feel sad when I think of what we lost, I also feel a sense of connection to my angel baby. I feel love for a baby that will always be in my heart and part of our family. Today I want to recognize my angel baby and thank them for watching over me, their daddy and their sister.

 

The Anatomy Scan

Today is our big 20 week scan (technically happening at 18.5 weeks).  From everything I read online, this will be a long ultrasound where they check out everything from the fingers and toes to the chambers of the heart ..and of course we should finally find out the GENDER!  We’ve been teased a bit with the gender reveal by our very nice, but perhaps overly confident ultrasound tech. At our 12 week scan, she told us to come back at 14 weeks for a complimentary scan confident she would be able to tell us boy or girl. At that scan, she quickly proclaimed “it’s a girl!” Followed by a few minutes later, “oh wait maybe I spoke too soon. I’m not sure.” Followed by the baby crossing it’s feet not letting us get another look. The ultrasound tech. must have sensed our disappointment so she told us to come back at 15 weeks for another complimentary scan. At that scan, she again could not make a clear determination. We left the appointment giggling that our baby was already being difficult. So now today is the real scan and I am hoping baby lets us get a peek and the tech gives us a confident confirmation of the gender. We are leaning towards girl- I felt an overwhelming sense of girl on transfer day. I also think the tech’s original proclamation has gotten in our heads. My hubby also had a dream it was a girl last week. It would be totally fun to be surprised by boy though too. More than anything, I just want the rest of the appointment to go well. I pray the baby is healthy and developing appropriately. We plan to cap off our day with starting the baby registry and telling our family with some blue or pink cupcakes. This is all starting to feel real. I’ll keep you all posted !!

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Our Pregnancy Announcement

I’m 17 weeks along and have really been taken aback lately about how much attention and support I’ve been getting from this pregnancy. At work, numerous people ask me on a daily basis how I am feeling. I’ve had people offer to carry things for me, hold the door, offer me the closest parking spot at work, etc.  Mere acquaintances show what appears a genuine interest in my due date, well-being, gender of my baby, etc. Yesterday, when my husband and I posted our pregnancy announcement on social media, we got an overwhelming amount of support and well- wishes. Some were messages from people we have not seen or spoken to in years. A old high school friend I had a falling out with seven years ago even sent me a text message. I am not complaining about the kind sentiments thrown my way. The support and interest is very much appreciated. What I am finding unsettling though is the amount of support I am getting now compared to when I was going through fertility treatment. It makes me sad that those battling infertility do not generally get this show of love. Of course I understand there are some very logical reasons for this difference. Many more people know I am pregnant (especially now that I have popped) as opposed to the amount of people that knew we were undergoing fertility. However I still do notice a completely different energy in a conversation about pregnancy versus fertility. In a recent conversation, a co-worker showed such interest in discussing their views on finding out the gender of a baby but when I mentioned that we did IVF, the conversation came to a crashing halt.

I understand infertility is an uncomfortable or personal subject for many, especially people that have no experience with it. But I still don’t think this is right. There needs to be so much more done to spread awareness. It’s nice to get so many people offering sympathy for my daily morning sickness. However my morning sickness (while torturous at times) doesn’t compare to the pain of losing a pregnancy, the stress of a two week wait, the invasive procedures I endured, the collective experience that is “infertility treatments.” One of my closest friends told me that it wasn’t until she saw all of the medications in a giant heap on my dining room table that she  realized how intense this all is.

So where do these feelings leave me? I want to do more to spread awareness about infertility by being more open about my own struggle.  I have been bringing it up more in casual conversation when people ask me about the pregnancy.  I also acknowledged our infertility battle on social media this week. As a pretty private social media person it was scary for me to put “it” out in the world. I honestly felt like I was unveiling a huge secret. My announcement was simple:

(Hubby’s name) and I are so happy to announce we are expecting a little pumpkin in March after a long battle with infertility. Our hearts are filled with joy and we can’t believe it’s finally happening!

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I wanted the announcement to show our excitement but also acknowledge our struggles. I wanted people to know I was not ashamed. I wanted others to know if they were facing infertility they were not alone. I wanted to soften the hurt someone struggling with infertility may feel when they saw another pregnancy announcement. I wanted to provide some hope.

Of all the likes and messages we got, one made me so happy I put “it” out there. Someone I went to graduate school with who I do not know very well sent me a private Facebook message. The message consisted of her congratulating me, saying that she is just starting infertility treatment and commenting about how it’s crazy how common infertility is. I wrote back offering her support and giving her my number if she had questions or needed to talk.  I was happy I was able to connect with her.

I know there is so much more I can do to spread awareness but this felt like a step in the right direction.

 

 

“Normal”

“At some point, you’re going to be normal. I don’t know if that’s going to be hard for you.” -my new OB

I knew from reading reviews, my doctor was sensitive to those who had suffered pregnancy loss. I also knew his practice was familiar with my fertility clinic. One thing I did not expect was for my doctor to have such strong insight into the psychology of infertility. I didn’t expect him to understand the pull between wanting to be a normal pregnant person but also clinging to the identity of being infertile. I certainly didn’t expect him to verbalize this to me.

The appointmenr left me wondering- will I feel normal? Is that possible after what I’ve been through?  Do I even want to feel normal?

Ovibously everyone who is infertile has a different experience- there are so many things that can vary- diagnosis, treatment, coping skills, length of treatment, financial stressors, outside support, etc. However after reading so many blog posts from other infertiles, it’s undeniable there is a collective experience and many shared emotions and experiences on this path. Sometimes I have felt like I am reading my own deepest feelings in another women’s words. And I have certainly read other women write a lot about how infertility has impacted their identity.

Overall, I feel this journey has changed me in many positive ways. I feel stronger for enduring what I have. I feel so grateful for my pregnancy even when I am hugging the toliet ever night. I feel more sensitive and empathetic to others who are experiencing infertility. I feel more caring towards and appreciative of my husband. I feel empowered by the knowledge and insight I have gained.

Of course it is easy for the pregnant person to say all this. If you would have asked me about my infertility experience after my miscarriage or failed transfer, I would have probably described a worse version of myself and some really ugly feelings- bitterness, jealousy and anger. Times when my anxiety was out of control. Times when I felt much worse off for knowing all the things that can go wrong in pregnancy. But even in those darkest times, I bounced back. And I have read so many of your blog posts lately about the bouncing back and they are simply inspirational. Whether it is finding yourself again after loss, taking a break and freeing yourself from treatment, finding the strength to endure another treatment, finding an alternative way to make your dream of having a child come true, coping with secondary infertility-the list goes on and on!

What I can say confidently is not one of your blogs is about someone who is normal. The infertility fight is an extraordinary one but it is being fought by extraordinary people. So to respond to my doctor’s statement, I am not normal and will never be normal. And neither are any of you. Is my goal a “normal” healthy child? Absolutely. But the journey and fight to get that has forever changed me.

Pre OB Appointment Jitters

I have my first OB appointment this afternoon and I am incredibly nervous. I seriously feel like a little kid on the first day of school. I had a dream last night about the appointment. In the dream, I got an ultrasound and the nurse in the room said there is something wrong with the baby’s heart and it’s my fault because I’m anxious. I woke up in a panic and as you can imagine I did not get a restful nights sleep.

So why are my nerves out of whack? It’s my first time going to a male gyno/OB so I’m nervous about the Pap smear. I’ve had male doctors at the fertility clinic do my vaginal ultrasounds but I feel like the pap is on a whole different level. They are really up there in your business. I know that might be silly but it’s going to be a little weird for me. I hope it’s something I can easily get past because this doctor is so reputable and has great reviews. Of course I’m also incredibly nervous about the baby. It’s been 9 days since the last ultrasound. I know that is nothing and I need to get used to seeing the baby a lot less but I’m used to seeing the baby every 7 days and these extra two days are making it feel like an eternity. I still get so nervous that the baby has stopped growing or that there will be no heartbeat or I’ll have a hemotoma. My husband keeps telling me there is no reason to think something is wrong. I know logically he’s correct but the trauma of my first miscarriage still haunts me. I seriously hold my breath when the ultrasound wand is put in until the doctor says something reassuring.

I hope my husband and I can build a comfortable rapport with the doctor today and I hope more than anything the baby is healthy and growing. In other news, the nausea is staying strong. There were a few days I thought I was done with vomiting and food aversions (I even ate fish and shrimp this week!) but my symptoms came back in full force yesterday. Maybe it’s baby’s way of saying “don’t worry I’m still here and doing well.”

I would appreciate all positive thoughts today for a successful appointment. Also wishing you all luck and a peaceful state of mind on whatever place you are in your own journeys !!

Graduation Day

We graduated from the fertility clinic yesterday. It was kind of surreal to know we have made it this far. At the appointment, we had another ultrasound were the baby measured 8 weeks 5 days (3 days earlier than expected). The doctor said the date can fluctuate by a few days. This ultrasound was pretty special.  First off, the baby actually looked like a baby with a distinct head, arms and legs. Last week, the baby looked like a starfish. We also saw the baby wiggling it’s leg around which was simply amazing and totally unexpected.  The baby’s heart rate was up to 170 bpm. With lots of congratulations from the doctor, nurses and front desk staff and a little goody bag with prenatal samples and a parenting magazine we were sent out the door. As we were leaving, staff told us to send pics when the baby is born. All I could think was they’re letting us leave AND they are confident we are going to have a baby. It was exciting. My nurse called later in the day with my final medication instructions. She said I could immediately stop estrogen patches and PIO shots. She also told me I should start progesterone suppositories and take them until August 14th. I told her I was so nervous to stop my shots but she assured me the placenta has taken over and I don’t need them. After feeling so confident and happy, I ended up having a restless night with little sleep. I think my anxiousness about ending the shots got the best of me. This morning I am feeling better. I’ve yet to throw up which lately means I’m having a great day. The last two days I vomited in both the morning and evening and felt terrible all day. So far, I am not enjoying the suppositories-yuck. But I can do anything for 12 days. My first OB appointment is next Thursday. I am hoping I’ll get another ultrasound. I am so used to getting these weekly looks at the baby. I’m also wondering if they are going to measure my progesterone level to make sure the suppositories are sufficient. Will they test my thyroid levels to make sure my thyroid meds are just right? It’s scary leaving the fertility doctor. I’ve really grown to trust them and feel so comfortable in the office. But I am very grateful for where we are and feeling more confident everyday that we are going to meet  our miracle baby in March.

Living Week to Week

I’ve broken new ground: I am well into week 6 and nauseous as hell. This week we had another ultrasound and heard the heartbeat. The ultrasound pic still does not resemble a baby- more like an oval within a black hole. Seeing the heart flicker and hearing the heartbeat brought my husband and I a lot of comfort. I’m still tempering my expectations, but I’m starting to believe that maybe just maybe this pregnancy might be successful. I’ve been told I will have 3-4 more appointments at the fertility doctor and to schedule an appointment with an OB. I scheduled my OB appointment for August 11th. Making this appointment made it feel more real especially when the receptionist congratulated me on my pregnancy. I was also told I will go off meds around week 8. This excites and terrifies me at the same time.

Now back to the nausea. I seem to be nauseous every time my stomach is empty. Keeping my stomach full has been a huge challenge as I suddenly have all these food aversions. Basically anything that is not fruit or carbs makes my stomach churn. Chicken, shrimp and fish are at the top of my “yuck” list. It is weird to be disgusted by food I once loved. Its weird that I no longer want to do one of my favorite date night activities- go out to a restaurant. It’s like an alien has taken over my brain.

The nausea has been a nice distraction to my worries and a reminder that baby is still with me. Whenever someone asks me how I’m feeling, I tell them nauseous but make sure to add in “but happy about it.”  For some reason, I feel the need to remind everyone that I am not complaining about any part of being pregnant as I want this baby more than anything. I also feel there is a part of me that wants to remind people I am different. I am not a normal pregnant person. I went through hell to get here.  I guess my infertility journey has impacted me on such a deep personal level. It’s a part of my identity and becoming pregnant has not changed that. In some ways, it’s a scar that I take pride in. I have already learned a lot about sacrifice, suffered through uncomfortable symptoms and demonstrated  love for my child by doing anything and everything I could to make them.

Now I’m anxiously awaiting our seven week milestone (1 more day) and next ultrasound (3 more days). I’m living week by week.  Grateful for each milestone yet anxious to get to the next. Once I reach week 12, I know I will be able to live more in the moment. Ironically, week 12 is when my summer vacation ends and I head back to work.

Pregnancy after Miscarriage

Warning: This post includes me venting about the anxiety I am experiencing this pregnancy. I do not want to be insensitive as I know many others are still waiting for a positive beta. If you feel it could be hurtful, please do not read on. The last thing I want to do is upset anyone.

Today I am 5 weeks and 4 days. We had our first ultrasound and more bloodwork on Tuesday. We saw a very clear yolk sac (yay!) and my HCG levels have increased significantly (phew!).  I am overjoyed and calm but I know this is temporary. I have a big mental obstacle approaching- week 6. The week I lost my first pregnancy.

For the past week (up until the lovely vaginal ultrasound wand was inserted Tuesday morning), I was riddled with anxiety. The fears of having another miscarriage became overwhelming. Every time I went to the bathroom, I checked for blood. Every time I felt a cramp, I thought for sure I had another hemotoma. Every time I felt energized and symptom free, I thought the baby had stopped developing. I was living in a state of fear and overanalyzing each and every sensation in my body. The “why me”s also started to creep in, replacing the joy and gratitude I felt on beta day. Why can’t I be naive to miscarriage symptoms? Why can’t I enjoy this pregnancy like I did the first time? Why do I feel the need to wait until a “safe” week to write in the adorable pregnancy book my husband got me? And again I began feeling misunderstood and jealous of fertiles.  I have to worry about things they are naive to. I don’t get the luxury of feeling annoyed by pregnancy symptoms as I desperately want each and every symptom for confirmation I’m still pregnant.

My reaction to a comment my sister in law made made me realize how negative  I had become. My husband was talking to her a few days ago when she asked how far along we were. When he told her 5 weeks, she said something along the lines of “oh tell her just wait until week 7. I remembering being so exhausted and it lasting forever. It’s terrible.” I would welcome exhaustion and bask in it if it means I’ve made it to week 7.  I am so desperate to make it to week 7. Of course her comment had no negative sentiments behind it. She was merely relating to me about the shared experience of pregnancy and trying to prepare me for what might be ahead.  But for whatever reason the comment triggered a flood of negativity in my mind- anger, hurt, jealousy, etc.  More than anything I was mad at myself for letting such a benign comment make me feel so bitter. I should feel joyful. It’s like I constantly have to remind myself I am pregnant and nothing is wrong.

Today that negativity is mostly gone. It washed away with the sight of the lovely yolk sac. I feel like I can breathe again. Am I excited and basking in a pregnancy glow? No, but I am not checking for blood obsessively in the bathroom. That is progress. I still feel the need to temper my expectations and excitement and I think that is just the reality of pregnancy after miscarriage.

I know the anxiety is going to creep back in and I know I have to control it or else it will take me over again. I am trying to be strong and fearless for the milestone week ahead. I found a prayer for month 2 of pregnancy online that has been providing me comfort. I’m going to share it below for anyone that might also need some uplifting.

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The Best Birthday Present

I’m a little nervous to write this post. I don’t want to jinx the amazing news and it’s so early in the game but here goes…I got a birthday gift this year impossible to top- a BFP!  I am officially pregnant!!

My HCG level measured 324 yesterday. This is a lot higher than my first round HCG of 117. Maybe this means it implanted earlier, not sure. Confession: I did test early. On Friday and then again on Saturday. I got a pretty dark line on the HPT on Friday and an even darker line on Saturday so I was feeling confident going into the blood test. My heart swelled with happiness when I saw those two lines.

I had a better sense of calm this time around. I think it helped that I had a bunch of symptoms during this tww including swollen boobs, gas, nausea, cramps and twinges, some weird dreams and tiredness. I was able to keep more of a positive mindset throughout the wait. I even kept my composure during transfer when they told me my third embryo didn’t survive the thaw and they were implanting my fourth and final one. I just told myself it is what it is and it won’t serve my body or mind to stress about it.

I surprised my husband with the positive test on Friday by sticking it in a carton of eggs. He went to make some for breakfast and found it. His face and reaction was priceless. We also hosted an amazing BBQ on my birthday yesterday with family and friends. My husband gave me the most thoughtful gifts- a new purse I had wanted, an adorable baby journal, a stuffed animal bunny (this has been our symbol of good luck as we always happen to see bunnies in the yard around the time we get good fertility news) and the most adorable onesie. I was really overwhelmed with joy and gratefulness. It was a birthday weekend I’ll never forget. 32 and pregnant! I like the sound of that. I go in tomorrow for my second beta and they want to see my number double. Praying it does. Praying this embryo sticks around. Praying for a smooth and healthy pregnancy. Praying I will be a mommy in March.