Just Checking in

thankful

Hello! I recently received a bunch of messages from concerned friends wondering why I haven’t posted anything in a while. This made me realize I better check in with y’all. The truth of the matter is that I just haven’t had anything interesting to report. Since the specialist released me, I no longer have weekly checkups.  I am now being treated every few weeks by a regular OBGYN, and the visits are rather uneventful.

It feels great to be “normal” for once, but I do miss my weekly ultrasounds. It was so nice and reassuring to get a glimpse of Baby P each week. Now my visits consist of a urine specimen, an examination to make sure my cervix is closed and routine blood work. Not nearly as exciting! 🙂

Sometimes it feels strange to be in a waiting room full of pregnant women who have no idea what it took to conceive this baby. It is a very different environment than that of the fertility clinic. I hear a lot of complaining and a lot of people taking their gift for granted.

I recently overheard a patient lamenting that she needed a drink because she had been pregnant for “3 years straight.” I still have moments where I want to lash out at people and tell them how lucky they are that this all comes so easily. I think of my friends who are still struggling to conceive ONE child (many of whom have been trying for much longer than I had to).

I have to remind myself, though, that if I hadn’t gone through all of this I would probably be one of those people too. Let’s face it, pregnancy is no cake walk. I’ve had morning sickness every single day so far and I have yet to eat a full meal. That can certainly take a toll on you after a while.

Believe it or not, it makes me thankful for my struggle. The battle makes the victory that much sweeter. Every time I think that I can’t feel any worse, I remind myself how low I felt when I had to entertain the possibility that we may never have a child. Recalling those emotions, I remember that there are MUCH WORSE feelings than extreme nausea.

I am also constantly reminded how lucky I am as several people I know have recently endured miscarriages. The fact that my pregnancy has been “uneventful” is as big of a blessing as the miracle growing inside of me. After reviewing my hormone levels, my new OBGYN told me that the clear reason for my nausea is simply “such a healthy baby.” Wow. My stomach might be empty, but my heart sure is full. I hope and pray that every woman struggling with infertility gets the chance to experience this feeling. It’s great to be so sick because your baby is so healthy.

I thank God every day that I am 10 weeks pregnant with this beautiful little miracle.

Baby P in 3D

Today was a miraculous day! I got to see my sweet little angel in 3D!

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He or she appears to be taking a nap. It’s a bit hard to make out at first, but once you see it, it’s clear as day. The baby is on the right side of the sac laying on its side facing the left. You can see the yolk sac at the bottom then just above that you can see the little legs and feet crossed. The arms were crossed over the baby’s chest. Then at the top you can see the profile of the left side of baby’s head with an ear, an eye, a nose and that big ole brain at the top 😉 Here is a picture I labeled in case you still can’t see it. Don’t worry, it took the baby’s daddy a little while to see it too!

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This was honestly the coolest thing I have ever seen, and I have wasted the rest of the day staring at this picture and day dreaming. My sweet little Baby P is just over an inch long with a heart rate of 174. I can’t believe how developed and beautiful this tiny miracle is. I’m so thankful that I was able to see this moment in 3D, and I will cherish this picture forever. My husband couldn’t come to the appointment today, so I invited my mom. She was over the moon to see her very first grandchild!

Now onto the even bigger news…Because the baby looks so great and everything is going so well, my specialist released me today THREE WEEKS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. It was bittersweet. I feel compelled to fall on my knees and thank God that I have gotten to this point. At the same time, I am so sad to leave his office! I know it might sound silly, but these people have been such an integral part of my journey. For the past 8 months, I have seen them at least once a week. Throughout my IVF process I saw them every single day.

Each and every person from the phlebotomist to the ultrasound tech to the receptionist to my nurse to the financial department to my brilliant doctor has been a cheerleader for this baby before he or she even existed and an invaluable support system for me.

These people hugged me when cycles got cancelled and things looked bleak and threw a party in the hallway when my test finally came up positive. When I first walked into that building back in January, I was completely broken. My previous doctor dismissed me with very little hope and even fewer answers or solutions. There were countless days and visits when I walked out in tears and didn’t think anyone would ever figure out my unpredictable body.

How beautiful is it that today I was cleared to stop taking all of my supplements and I walked out a regular ole’ pregnant gal with a heart stopping 3D picture of my little love? You never know what God has in store for you.

My doctor has one final assignment for me. He wants to hold this baby as soon as possible so he can see his finished product and show it off. Once the baby is born, I won’t be able to get it to him fast enough. Without him, Baby P would just be a dream instead of a reality. I can’t even begin to imagine how wonderful and rewarding it must feel to know that you gave a couple the one thing they wanted more than anything in the world. That is what you call gratifying work.

After hugging everybody, tearing up and begging and pleading to stay, I was sent on my way with a book of information for my OBGYN. I have selected a new OBGYN with the help of my specialist. It’s a little scary to meet a new caregiver when you’re already 9 weeks pregnant. It will be difficult for me to place all of my trust in someone else after all of this. I have my first appointment Monday so I’ll let y’all know how that goes.

The doctor told me today that from here on out he expects me to be a normal run of the mill OB patient. ME…NORMAL?! That was music to my ears. He also advised me to return exactly one year after giving birth to get working on the next one due to the severity of my endometriosis and PCOS. I gave him a dirty look and told him not to start on me while my nausea was so severe haha!

You might remember in one of my earlier posts when I was really struggling with infertility, I saw a newly pregnant girl projectile vomiting in the hallway and told her I would give anything to be in her shoes. God heard my prayers! I have lost 8 pounds since I found out I was pregnant. Today the doctor gave me something called Diclegis, which is a drug developed specifically for pregnant women to curb nausea. We’ll see if it works. This too shall pass!

I hope you have a wonderful rest of the day. I will probably spend most of it staring at this sweet blessing. 🙂

A Scary Week

Good morning! I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July. We spent our 4th of July on vacation in Destin, FL. As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent our last Destin vacation (in 2013) in the hospital with a ruptured ovarian cyst. Unfortunately, I had a little scare and had to return to the same hospital this time. Our first morning there, my husband and my mom went out deep sea fishing. I stayed at the condo to rest because deep sea fishing isn’t safe for pregnant women and it isn’t my thing anyway. They left around 4a.m. A few hours later, I woke up in the most horrible discomfort I have ever experienced in my life.

I knew something was wrong. I went to the bathroom and the pain intensified. I looked in the toilet and noticed a pretty sizable amount of blood. You NEVER want to see blood when you’re pregnant. With my mom and hubby offshore and out of cell phone reception, I had no choice but to drive myself to the hospital. When I arrived, the nurse gave me a cup to provide a urine specimen in. I filled the cup and noticed it was full of blood. I started to panic, thinking that there was a good chance I was having a miscarriage and I was all alone.

The doctor came in to see me and ask a few questions about my history and the pregnancy. Then he left to test the urine. Thankfully, it turned out that I had hemorrhagic cystitis, which is basically such a bad UTI that you get little blood clots in your bladder that rupture when you go to the bathroom. The doctor said this is somewhat common in early pregnancy. When the uterus grows so quickly, it can block off the urethra making it impossible to properly eliminate all of the urine.

Phew! I felt a little better, but I was still worried about the baby. I begged and begged for an ultrasound but was met with an emphatic “NO!” The doctor said it was very clear that I had hemorrhagic cystitis and there was no reason to check the baby. I tried to explain that this baby was my little miracle baby who was conceived after a very long struggle with infertility. I told him it would alleviate all of my stress and fear if I could just see that little heart flickering on the screen. He not only refused but asked if I was questioning his authority that the baby was OK.

He left the room in a huff and returned moments later with 2 pills. He put the pills in my hand with a glass of water and instructed me to swallow them and sign my discharge papers. I asked him what pregnancy class these pills were in. He told me that he wasn’t sure. I asked if he could look it up. He said no and asked why I came to the hospital if I didn’t trust him to treat me.

I started to feel both upset and enraged that this doctor was treating me so poorly at such a stressful time. I told him that I would not swallow the pills or sign the discharge papers until I spoke to my doctor and that if my doctor thought I needed an ultrasound I would not move out of the bed until they gave me one. He looked surprised. He was definitely a pompous idiot, and I got the impression that he isn’t used to patients standing up to him. Mama Hen does not play.

I called my doctor’s office and got the on-call doctor. I told him all of my symptoms and before I could get the diagnosis out of my mouth, he said it was hemorrhagic cystitis. That made me feel SO much better. He calmed me down and explained the condition in a very patient manner, assuring me that this would not affect the baby. He told me that both medications the doctor prescribed were very safe to take. He also said that while he didn’t think an ultrasound was absolutely necessary, he was shocked that any doctor wouldn’t order one to ease an expectant mother’s worries. Thank you!

I hung up the phone in a much calmer state of mind, swallowed the pills and signed the discharge papers. The medicine made me feel pretty awful for the rest of the vacation and fear kept creeping into the back of my mind that this was somehow affecting the baby. I tried to enjoy myself as much as possible given the circumstances.

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Our little family of 5 on vacation

My doctor promised to do an ultrasound as soon as I returned home. The 5 days in between passed very slowly. Yesterday my ultrasound appointment was scheduled for 9:15. I showed up at 8:15 praying they would call me back early. I felt so anxious. I just had to see that little heart beating. As soon as I signed in, they called me back. I stared at the screen and the tears started flowing when I finally saw that little heart beating stronger than ever. The ultrasound tech didn’t even need to point it out this time. It was clear as day. My heart felt so full!

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Our little angel baby…a beautiful sight!

She was also able to point out the formation of the pre-brain, the spine and the little arm buds and leg buds. The baby was incredibly active, flip flopping all over the place and the heart rate was 159. I’ve never seen a more beautiful sight. I think it was the first time I really experienced that surreal feeling that someone is actually living inside of me.

A friend recently told me, “You’ll worry every day until you hold that baby in your arms and then you’ll worry every day for the rest of your life.” That definitely rang true this week. Even though I am still in the earliest stages of motherhood, it’s a crazy feeling to worry about the needs of someone else before your own every moment of the day. I think about the safety of every activity I do and every piece of food I put in my mouth. When I’m in pain, I’m more worried about the safety and health of the baby than getting relief and feeling better. This is just the beginning of this new stage of life where my needs take a back seat to another person, and I feel so lucky that God has given me the ability to experience this. I’m looking forward to being a crazy Mama Hen for the rest of my days. 🙂

Seeing Baby P’s Heartbeat

Hi, friends!! Just a quick little update today. We went to the doctor this morning for blood work and an ultrasound. Everything looks perfect. We got to see tiny Baby P and confirm that there is one baby (not two) in the sac. Most importantly, we got to see the little flickering heart on the screen. It was truly incredible. The baby is currently 6mm long. He or she is actually measuring a week ahead of schedule. It’s crazy that we can already see the heart of something so small! My hubby got teary eyed (something that never happens!) and I just stared in amazement. We feel so blessed to be in such a good place. Baby P’s heart rate was 126 beats per minute. For some reason, I’ve had a strong inkling that the baby is a boy since the very beginning. If you go by the old wives’ tales, the heart rate would suggest boy as well. I don’t think you can put too much stock in those, though. 🙂

Here’s a little video Matt took of the ultrasound so you can see everything in more detail:

Now we are headed off to Destin, Florida to celebrate the holiday weekend. Last time we went to Destin was July of 2013. During the vacation, I had to visit the hospital there, because a cyst the size of a golf ball ruptured on my ovary while I was laying on the beach. I was devastated. Not only was I upset that I missed out on the entire vacation. It was a stark realization that my endometriosis was getting so much worse, and I honestly wondered if we would ever be able to have a baby. I felt so hopeless at that time. How serendipitous to see our child’s heartbeat for the first time on the day of our return trip. It just goes to show you that you can never count yourself out. No matter how hopeless your situation seems, things can always turn around. Even miracles take a little time. Have a wonderful 4th of July, y’all. God Bless America!

My First Glimpse of (VERY TINY) Baby P

Happy Friday, friends! I had to make another trip to the doctor today. The pain I had earlier in the week got 10 times worse yesterday. I didn’t even want to walk around or stand up. When I woke up this morning it was much better, but my doctor wanted to see me anyway. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a proactive and overly cautious doctor taking care of me.

After a very thorough ultrasound, he determined that everything looked great except my right ovary. I still have several cysts on it. My right ovary has been the bane of my existence for as long as I can recall. You might remember that the constant ginormous cysts it produces resulted in cancellation of two of my earlier cycles. I thought that once I got pregnant it would calm down, but apparently it’s still fighting the good fight. You almost have to admire its tenacity.

The good news is that while these cysts are causing a lot of pain, they are not dangerous and will not affect the baby. That’s all that matters to me! My doctor asked me to take it easy for the rest of the weekend and stay off of my feet as much as I can. The best part about my appointment today, though, was that I got my very first glimpse of the baby!!!

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Baby P!

The big circle you see is the gestational sac, which is filled with amniotic fluid and will be the baby’s home until he or she makes their debut. The smaller circle inside of the big circle (on the left hand side) is the yolk sac. The yolk sac supplies nutrients to the baby in early pregnancy. Then if you can see that object that looks like a tiny grain of rice and stretches from inside the bottom half of the yolk sac down to the bottom of the gestational sac, THAT is our baby!

I know it’s really small. You’re probably squinting and still can’t see what I’m talking about. But it’s there. That’s my sweet little angel. It’s hard to believe that within the next 34 weeks that tiny little grain of rice will develop and grow into a fully functioning human being. Until then, I will do everything in my power to nourish and protect that little baby and give it everything it needs to prosper. Now the real question is…who does Baby P look like? Mom or Dad?

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Dad on the left and Mom on the right

Or do you think it’s too soon to tell? 🙂

The Most Beautiful Little Sac I Ever Did See

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There it is in all its glory…my beautiful little gestational sac! I was originally supposed to go to the doctor Thursday, but I started having some really sharp pains on my right side yesterday afternoon. I called the doctor, who said he felt confident that the pain was due to my ligaments stretching out to make room for the baby but asked me to come in a day early just to be sure.

I barely slept last night because I was anxious to make sure everything was ok and excited about seeing our baby or babies’ sacs today. Matt and I were extremely giddy when the ultrasound tech called us back. We couldn’t wait to see something…anything! Before we knew it, this beautiful little sac came up on the screen. How are we so lucky to be blessed with this miracle?

The ultrasound tech said the sac looked perfect and she could even see a very defined formation of the yolk sac inside of it. She checked around to make sure there weren’t any other sacs. Since there is 1 sac, we know that only 1 of the 2 embryos we transferred actually implanted. We are most likely expecting 1 baby, but the doctor said there is about a 20% chance that the embryo split and there are identical twins inside of the sac. They couldn’t tell yet, but we will be able to see inside of the sac next Thursday!

I am mesmerized by that beautiful picture. I came home and framed it immediately. It’s crazy how much I already love this tiny little baby. I am beyond grateful that everything is developing right on track. I will never take this gift for granted. I feel so lucky that God entrusted us with this precious child.

As much as I wish we could have gotten pregnant the easy way, I do have to admit that it has been cool to watch this process unfold. Most OB patients don’t get their first glimpse of their baby for another 2 and a half weeks. First, we got to see the embryos. Then we got to watch the embryos go into the uterus on ultrasound. Then we got the positive pregnancy test. This week we got to see the gestational sac. Next week we get to see what’s inside of the sac and the following week we get to hear the heartbeat. It’s like opening a new present every week. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

I do have one little soapbox and/or disclaimer, though. A few people I’ve told this morning have said, “Aww it’s only one?” or, “Oh it’s JUST one?” No. It’s ONLY the most beautiful miracle I’ve ever seen and JUST one more baby than I thought I might ever be able to have. People asked if we were disappointed. Is that a real question? How could anyone, especially a couple who has yearned and struggled for a baby as much as we have, EVER be disappointed to see their child for the first time? Please.

Anyway, on a happier note, we got to celebrate Matt’s first Father’s Day this weekend.

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Happy 1st Father’s Day, Matt!

He loves to fish, so I embroidered 2 outfits (boy and girl options) that said “Daddy’s Fishing Buddy.”

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Daddy’s Fishing Buddy

I also decided that I want to take weekly bump pictures and make them into a collage for the baby book. I enter a new week of pregnancy every Sunday, so I thought Father’s Day would be a fun occasion to take the first.

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1st bump picture. The belly is really left over from all of the IVF meds and not from the baby yet.

We have been having a lot of fun with the journey and enjoying every moment. I plan to savor each step of the pregnancy. I couldn’t be more thankful for this incredible opportunity. All of you continue to be in my prayers. Hopefully I will have a picture of the (very tiny) baby to show you next Thursday. Have a wonderful rest of the week! 🙂