Long Awaited Maternity Session

Five and a half years ago, when we first started trying for a family, I was working as a wedding and portrait photographer. Many of my clients were coming back to me for their maternity sessions, and later their newborn and family sessions. I started dreaming of what mine would be like… who I’d hire… where I’d do them… what I’d wear. I was so excited to start planning it, even before we started officially trying. Sadly over the years as I was faced with negative pregnancy tests over and over again, I finally began to let go of my dreams of a photo session documenting my body doing this beautiful amazing and natural thing… carrying a baby. I began to not only doubt that I’d ever get pregnant, I doubted whether I’d ever be a mom. The dream of a perfect maternity photoshoot was no longer on my radar. It was not remotely important in comparison to the dream of being a mother, seeing Eric become a father. I had to step away from shooting maternity and newborn sessions due to the pain it caused me watching others hold what I so desperately wanted. It just hurt too much.

When we finally got that positive test back in December of last year, I was so consumed with fear and doubt of this pregnancy progressing, that I didn’t dare allow myself to believe I’d make it to the second trimester, let alone far enough along in pregnancy to do a maternity session. While others were hiring photographers for their “announcement” photos, I was crying into a camera sharing my most raw emotions with family, friends, and total strangers alike. This wasn’t something to celebrate… Not yet at least. Not in my mind.

When I hit viability at 24 weeks I began to believe more and more than my body was capable. I couldn’t doubt it’s ability to carry a child any longer… it was doing it! I was doing it! Although I still feared for how long and whether the baby boy inside me would make his way safely into this world, I couldn’t deny that I had accomplished something I has previously doubted possible. I was pregnant, and my baby was blossoming in the womb. That’s when I decided I would make sure to document this precious experience regardless of the outcome.

I found a photographer and we set up our session. For weeks and weeks I planned what I wanted. I picked a location. I searched for and found outfits. I contemplated hair and flowers. While going through all of these steps I realized just how much this session meant to me. I realized that the dream I had years and years ago never really went away. I just stored it away in a compartment in the far reaches of my memory and locked it up so as to protect my heart. But having photos of this time of our lives meant so much more to me than I ever really knew.

I spent the entire weekend getting organized and ready for our shoot. Eric knew just how important it all was to me and was so helpful and supportive, making it all the more special. My heart was pounding as we drove up to the shoot location. I had never worked with this photographer before. What if she disappoints? What if I’ve built up this moment so much in my mind that I’m unable to be happy with the result?

We did our photoshoot (having seriously lucked out with the weather… I mean outdoor session in Texas summer heat!? Plus the risk of storms… It could have been disastrous) and all went well. We hadn’t had photos done since our wedding in 2010 and were both a bit stiff at first. I definitely am far more used to being the one behind the camera… and Eric? Well he just needs a lot of direction. When I shoot him he’s very natural, but when it’s someone else he clams up a bit, but he did great all things considered. We both felt pressure to make these photos the best they could be given how much this pregnancy means to us.

Turns out, that pressure I was feeling was pretty real. I literally had nightmares about the photos not turning out and not having any tangible memories of this pregnancy. Of course that wouldn’t be the case, but you know dreams… logic is often completely obsolete. I woke up at around 1am from this dream feeling deflated. I had just done something I was so excited about, why was I feeling so negative and anxious!? It’s hard to describe, but I don’t doubt a large part of it has to do with the fears that still exist deep down that I may never truly get to meet my son. This sense that if I don’t have these photos, this pregnancy, and my baby boy, could have never existed at all. This may not make sense to many, but if you’ve fought through infertility and/or pregnancy loss, it may just resonate.

Well laying awake in bed, my anxiety turned to insomnia and there was no falling back asleep. I often find myself on social media in the middle of the night (so if you see that I liked your photo at strange hours… yeaaaaaa, that’s why), and last night was no different. What shocked me was to find my photographer had already posted our sneak peak. Wait, what? How? We only finished at 830pm… it’s 1am!? Turns out she was excited about our photos and how they turned out. Hey, I’m certainly not complaining but as a photographer myself I never expected that kind of turnaround. I was going to be patient, although likely burdened with photo nightmares until then it seemed.

Instantly all of my fears and anxieties dissipated seeing her beautiful work. She captured us perfectly, and I am so thrilled to have these memories to look back on. My heart couldn’t be more full in this moment. It was literally like a dream come true to receive these. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. We truly feel so grateful and so blessed.

PHOTOS BY REBECCA OF R & J STUDIOS

Reflections on Mother’s Day

Where to begin… First, let it be said that Mother’s Day is a beautiful day to honor the strong women who have brought all of us on this earth into existence. Without our mothers, we wouldn’t exist. We take time on that day to acknowledge and thank them for all they have done, and continue to do for us, and they certainly deserve it. That being said, Mother’s Day is so very hard for so many women for so many different reasons. The one reason that strikes closest to my own heart, is that of infertility.

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Infertility can make a lot of situations incredibly painful, and Mother’s Day is certainly no exception. I thought that finally having fallen pregnant, the day would instantly be converted to one of pure happiness and joy. I was wrong. Unfortunately my last 5 mother’s days were spent yearning for what others had and were celebrating, and that shifted my perspective. Although this year I was pregnant and so beyond joyful and grateful for where I’d gotten to, I was also still deeply saddened by the pain of my past and that of my infertility sisters. I empathized with the mothers who had just had miscarriages, or the mothers who recently (or long ago) lost their child. I also felt anxiety for my own child I am carrying. What if something happens and this is all taken from me? It’s a horribly negative way to look at things, but sometimes after all you’ve been through, it can be hard to have faith, especially in your weakest moments.

I went througraincoupleh the day wanting to be in the mood to celebrate only to feel disconnected from the joy I was supposed to be feeling. We started with a nice brunch out, figuring maybe I just needed a little energy boost, but that experience only broke me further. We had a terrible server and experience that literally left me in tears. We can blame the pregnancy hormones for that I suppose. Once again I found myself just wanting to get through the day. So we went to Ikea… not exactly the vision I had for my first Mother’s Day, but it was what I wanted so as to not be focused on what was going on around me, or what we perhaps should be doing to celebrate. Eric wanted this day to be special for me, but he too felt the pangs of memories drummed up, and empathized with how I needed to cope.

I hope that Mother’s Day next year will be one that I can properly celebrate, but I wonder if part of my heart will always sit with those in pain on this day. I knew it too well, and lived it too long to forget. Although part of me wishes I could, and wants to enjoy the purity of the day that so many others blissfully can, unaware of the struggles of others… I’m just not sure that it will ever feel right celebrating without also honoring those in the wait or mourning.

Infertility opens your eyes up, and certainly taught me a lot about compassion. I don’t judge those who can enjoy this day blissfully unaware, I envy it to a degree. But I also wouldn’t trade in my perspective as I’ve learned so much about myself and what is most important to me in this life, and that certainly isn’t celebrating a hallmark holiday.

Emotional Reflections: Stages of Grief through Infertility

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So we had a detailed 15 week scan with a MFM doc and all looks great. Was so much fun to see little man wiggling around and all his little features that are getting more and more pronounced as the days go on. We finally felt a bit more of the relief I had been looking for.

I’ve shed a few tears since that day. Happy tears. As I reflected on all of my years struggling to conceive, and as I really absorbed and acknowledged I was in the second trimester, I felt overwhelming in the best way possible. I finally made it! I am pregnant, and actually believing it will lead to a baby. It was the first time I allowed myself to truly be excited, and it was such a euphoric moment. But I still remember and feel the pain like it was yesterday, and in a sense it allows me to be more than happy. I feel eternally blessed, and immensely indescribably grateful.

When we first started trying to get pregnant I had these images of what our experience would be like. Maybe we’d try a few months… I’d secretly test and surprise Eric with the news in some cute memorable way. Well, as the months dragged on, the doubt started to creep in. At that time though, I think the doubt was more about how long it would take, and doubt of me having the image in my head come to fruition. I don’t think I yet considered it never happening for us. In that first year I was still certain I was meant to be a mom, and this was going to happen for us, and soon! I was in the first stage of grief for much of that first year. Shock that it wasn’t happening, and denial that it wouldn’t.

When we were finally referred to a fertility clinic a new picture was formed in my head. We underwent test after test and both Eric and I dealt with a lot of guilt and pain. Was it him? Was it me? Was it both of us? The blame game gets you nowhere, but in a way you hope it’s the other person’s “fault” so you don’t have to feel the guilt and pain of letting them down. You’ve already let yourself down in so many ways, it feels, you can’t handle that burden too. I’d overcome infertility. I’d go through treatments like the strong woman I am, and come out a winner. I’d defeat these obstacles… with some doctors help of course. The fertility specialists reiterated that nothing was wrong with us, and that this WOULD work. The first round failed. I was angry and pointing fingers. The doctor who did the transfer messed up. Our fertility doctor should have given us a different protocol. As we set on course for our second transfer, a frozen cycle, we moved into bargaining. We tried to control, “fix” and learn as much as we could from the last cycle in order to be successful. I made changes, we opted to put 2 day 5 embryos in despite doctor’s advice. If I put two in maybe I’ll be more successful. Another failed round later they were as confused as we were. My hope and faith were gone.

There is no way around it. When that cycle failed I was depressed. We took a long break from treatment and I tried to find purpose in my life again. Everything had become about fertility and I was very tired. All of my friends around me were moving on, and it became increasingly difficult to be around happy people. I wanted a change. I needed a change. As fate would have it, an opportunity came about for us to move and start a new life. We jumped on it.

Once settled in our new life in New York, we made the decision to push forward in our goals of parenthood. It’s an odd thing, pursuing treatments that you don’t necessarily believe will work. We still had very little hope. We were still in a sense depressed. As we met with a new clinic and a new doctor we moved into the testing phase. This would be our last attempt, and more than a hopeful one, it was really a “go through the motions” process of moving towards accepting our fate (which I at least thought to be inevitable at the time). We went through so much without any shred of certainty. Our experiences had taught us otherwise. A shred of hope could be found as new techniques by a new doctor were being applied. A textbook cycle, perfect in all ways, but yet still no success. This was the moment we had to really begin to accept that this may never happen for us.

That’s a very very hard thing to process, acceptance. Motherhood, something so many women take for granted, something so many women assume is their god given right. For me… I may never experience. If I was going to experience it, I had to accept it wasn’t in the way I hoped or imagined for myself. I began to process these emotions, picturing motherhood through adoption. The thing about infertility is you aren’t on this journey alone. There are two people, two sets of emotions, two distinct separate paths through the stages of grief even. I thought Eric and I had been moving through them at the same pace, but we hadn’t been. We went through a difficult patch trying to understand why were weren’t on the same page. I was ready to pursue adoption and became increasingly frustrated that he wasn’t on board. He hadn’t really ever gotten past bargaining. He still held onto hope this would happen for us.

The baby boy nestled in my uterus right now is a direct result of Eric’s persistence. He in no way forced me to undergo another cycle. In fact, through our discussions he began to work through and become excited for the adoption process. But I decided I could find the strength to do another cycle. Not just for him, but for us. This would be the last cycle for now, and I was clear on my expectation beyond that point.

Somehow, by miracle, our final cycle worked. The funny thing is, I began that cycle with a refreshed attitude. I made the deliberate decision to BELIEVE it could work. BELIEVE it WOULD work. And it did. I’m not saying that I willed it to happen, but I think the fact that I had worked through the stages of grief fully before trying this final attempt, allowed me to enter into it with an open heart…something I hadn’t been able to do for the years past.

So now sitting here, writing this, I become emotional because a dream I set out to achieve five years ago is finally coming to fruition. It hasn’t been easy by any means. It has been the most challenging five years of my entire life. But as I’ve said in posts before, I’ve learned a lot and gained a lot in the process. For all of it, I am grateful.

Second Trimester Begins

It’s been a long hard journey to get to this point, and I genuinely believed that once I entered the elusive second trimester, I’d feel better. I’d feel relieved or encouraged, or maybe even confident. Unfortunately, infertility has left more scarring than I once imagined, and my fears of my body failing me are more deep rooted than can be described.

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A few weeks ago we had our 12 week ultrasound. All went very well, baby’s heart was beating away and was measuring “on track” (at least, consistent with being behind in the first place). We were relieved for that moment in time. We made it to 12 weeks! That felt like a huge accomplishment. They drew our blood for NIPT (non-invasive prenatal testing) and sent that off and I was feeling pretty sure that all would come back clear for abnormalities and we would celebrate the gender and be well on our way through this pregnancy.

 

The wait wasn’t as torturous for me as it seemed to be for Eric. While I took reassurance from my gut telling me the results would be clear, he was anxious to hear confirmation and to find out the gender. For whatever reason, I was patient. I was calm. This being out of character for me, caused me to pause and reflect on potential reasons for my lack of urgency. Could I just be a changed woman? Hardly. I think I was ultimately afraid of finding out the gender and becoming even more attached to our precious little baby for fears of potentially experiencing more pain should anything go wrong. The results took longer than they should, but I was not bothered. Eric asked daily so I finally checked in to see if this had come in. They had.

Our results were indeed clear. This was a huge relief and one worth celebrating. But it didn’t give me as much confidence as I had hoped. Although baby is normal, I still am not. I’m still relying on medications to sustain this pregnancy. I still recall the years of my body doing one thing when it should be doing another. The nurse called back to leave the gender on my voicemail but I was in no hurry to listen. Waiting for Eric to come home was easy and I did so with ease.

When he walked in the door he wanted to know instantly. I had always envisioned some grand gender reveal, some unique moment that was captured that would celebrate this baby perfectly. Yet here I was and I no longer really cared. My priorities had shifted. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t going to have a grand get together with family and friends and cut a cake or pop a balloon… what mattered was that there was a baby inside me. A precious life that we had fought so very hard to create. We didn’t care if it was a boy or girl. What mattered was that baby was healthy, and we knew that already! This was just information to us. Strange how infertility changes your perceptions in life.

I was very shocked with the results but also very thrilled and excited… once the shock wore off of course. What’s most exciting is that this meant we could start picking names, and buying clothes and planning the nursery… all things I had been looking forward to for years and years. Yet I still have a hard time buying anything. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve online shopped only to put things in my cart and then close the browser window without following through. The fears are still there. “If I buy things and something goes wrong, I’ll have to return them… or worse… look at them and be reminded.” So I wait.

Waiting for the nursery items is easy to justify as we are moving to our new home in May. It doesn’t very well make sense to buy furniture just to have it moved, so that makes logistical sense regardless of motivation. But as we settle on a name it becomes increasingly more difficult to remain detached. And I don’t want to anymore. I want to embrace this pregnancy. I want to believe and be confident. It’s something I work on each and every day, yet I struggle. I try to not judge myself for that, tell myself it’s understandable, but I continue to work to improve my mindset.

Next week we have our first appointment with a maternal fetal medicine (MFM) doctor who will assess our risk. A week after that is our 16 week appointment with our OB. Although I’d like to hope after those appointments I’ll have the reassurance I need, the truth is, I’m not sure I ever will. And I need to find peace with that.

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Fears & Third Beta

So I woke up this morning feeling “less pregnant” than I have in a long time. I had energy, my boobs weren’t sore, I just felt kind of just fine… of course this was incredibly unsettling. The first thing I did when I popped out of bed was take a home pregnancy test hoping to ease my mind. Well that was a fail. It was lighter than it was 2 days ago.

Now I will admit, my afternoon tests seem to be consistently darker than morning tests. I’m not sure if that’s in some way due to the suppositories overnight, or my natural hormone fluctuations. Regardless an afternoon test from 2 days ago (well 1.5 if we’re being anal) in my mind should have been very similar to a morning test today. Perhaps I’m wrong, and a friend of mine tried to reassure me that she experienced the same thing and to not trust the sticks but it’s so very very hard.

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That being said, many women have suggested I get a third beta to make sure my levels are rising appropriately so I finally caved and asked my RE (reproductive endocrinologist – aka fertility doctor) for an order so I could go to Labcorp and have this done today. So that’s what I’m doing. My appointment is at 11:30am and even if he requests it STAT I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get the results today. I just know in the past I’ve gone at 9:30am and didn’t get my results until later in the afternoon and with my RE clinic on the East Coast they may not be able to get back to me until tomorrow.

This is a rundown on what my HCG should look like:
1st Beta Dec 27 = 192
2nd Beta Dec 29 = 379

This is about 97.4% increase in 48 hours. Those first two betas were drawn around 9:30am. Based on the same percentage increase:

by Dec 31 should of been around 783
by Jan 2 should of been around 1545

by TODAY at 9:30am (Jan 4) should be around 3050, so maybe a little higher by the 1130am draw.

And so more waiting. All I feel like I do these days is wait in limbo. Regardless, waiting for results tomorrow is much more manageable than waiting for our Ultrasound which is now scheduled for January 11th.

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Ohhhhh the ultrasound… so this has been fun. *insert eye roll* Because I’m new to Texas I didn’t yet have an OB-GYN. I hadn’t had time between finding an internist, getting settled, starting FET etc. Well a friend recommended a practice and I called them and because I’m still on Fertility medications until 10/11 weeks they won’t see me until that point in time. I was shocked. And they weren’t exactly nice about it, they basically said you can go get imaging done at a regular imaging lab center in the meantime.

Well that’s all fine and dandy but for someone who has gone through all I have to get here, I would like a bit of continuity of care and reassurance. It felt very very unsettling. I expressed my frustration too because if I had of just not told them about IVF then I would have gotten in for 6 weeks. I’m sure many women lie, but I do want my doctor to know my case and history and be sensitive to it so probably for the best in the end. Really horrible and stressful experience.

Anyways, I did end up finding an OB-GYN that has experience with high risk so I’m hoping it won’t be an issue. I simply booked in on Zoc Doc so don’t plan to explain the IVF/FET situation until during my appointment. Hoping that doesn’t affect their willingness to work with me on the day. Fingers crossed. I do have a letter from my RE “releasing” me from their care, and explaining that I’ll be on meds to sustain pregnancy thereafter, but man it’s complicated. Everyone’s just worried about being sued in the states I swear. They don’t give a crap that they’re causing undue stress.

So until further notice I’m waiting waiting waiting, and anxiously fearful that all that I’ve worked so hard to achieve is going to be taken away from me before I can even start to enjoy it.

 

*EDITED TO ADD

The lovely ashleymatics was kind enough to point out that beta levels beyond roughly 1000 tend to double slower. I did some research and found this info helpful so thought I should include it here:

  1. Within the first 2-4 weeks after fertilization, hCG usually doubles every 48-72 hours
  2. An increase of 60% in 48 hours is still considered normal
  3. Below 1,200 mIU/ml, hCG usually doubles every 48-72 hours
  4. Between 1,200 and 6,000 mIU/ml serum, the hCG usually takes 72-96 hours to double
  5. Above 6,000 mIU/ml, the hCG often takes over four days to double
  6. More than two in three normal pregnancies have a doubling of the hCG every 72 hours
  7. There is a wide variation of normal hCG levels. An hCG that does not double every two to three days does not necessarily indicate a problem
  8. A maximum level is usually reached by the 10th or 11th week.
  9. After 10 weeks or so, hCG normally decreases

Early Pregnancy after Infertility

First off, it’s been a while since I last posted so in case you’re wondering about beta #2 it almost doubled and came in at 379. I would have loved to have gotten at least a doubling rate within 48 hours but this is still very strong progression and promising for sure. My first ultrasound will hopefully be next Monday but I didn’t previously have an OB so getting an appointment has been tricky.

It’s been interesting this last week since our second beta… I’ve been anxious, happy, hopeful and downright scared. When I say this, a lot of people don’t understand. Everyone goes through some anxiety in early pregnancy people might argue, and that is very true, but what those who have never suffered with infertility don’t understand is just how magnified it is for those of us who struggled so significantly to get to this point in the first place. Fear is fear, and I don’t mean to discount anyone’s journey. We are each navigating our own paths and our feelings are valid. But what I try to make people understand is that they may not be able to relate as well as they might think.

When an “infertile” becomes pregnant, it doesn’t change the fact that they are still technically a victim of infertility. And while yes, both the fertile and infertile pregnant moms-to-be are anxiously awaiting that first ultrasound to know all is well with the blossoming life within, it’s also important to note that the infertile is still on daily medications that serve as a reminder that she and her body can’t do this on their own. They need medical intervention.

A pregnant “infertile” woman waiting for that first ultrasound is like a man at the horse race track who, at his wits end, just bet his life savings on a horse named Lucky and is watching with sweat pouring down his face as Lucky barrels around the track vying for the one lone first place finish. It’s do or die, and it can feel like that to a pregnant infertile. We have invested so much into our cycles that once we get that elusive positive hpt it becomes a lifeline to everything that we’ve worked so hard towards. A light at the end of a very long dark and grueling tunnel. And if for some reason Lucky trips up… we aren’t sure how we are going to move forward.

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For me, this cycle was it… next was surgery, surrogacy or even adoption. We weren’t quite sure. The pressure that an infertile feels after emptying bank accounts and sacrificing so much is truly immeasurable, and certainly unexplainable. It may seem like this weird club that we the infertiles don’t invite our fertile friends to, but trust us, you don’t want in. Be grateful you’re privileged to not understand. Be happy you will likely never know these emotions I try to convey. It is a blessing you didn’t struggle, and I am genuinely happy for you that you didn’t. But it can be difficult when women think they can relate to our journey when we’ve been down very different paths.

On the flip side, many women who have battled infertility for years and years welcome their pregnancies with open arms. Every wave of nausea, every sharp pain in my boob, I smile. I feel reassured. I feel grateful. In a way, I am privileged to see pregnancy through this lens. It makes all the hard parts of pregnancy a lot easier to bear when you are just so immensely happy to be in this moment in time, finally. It can be very hard to express all this to the fertile mom who struggled in her pregnancy, who hated pregnancy, or who maybe even doesn’t always love being a mom. All of that is okay. We are different. But that is alright. It just needs to be acknowledged as so…

Anyways, my point is that I’m in a weird state of limbo at the moment. I am still pregnant, at least my First Response hpt yesterday tells me so, but how pregnant, how viable, remains to be seen… I am definitely a ball of nerves waiting for the first ultrasound. Not only am I anxious to see that it’s progressing, but I’m also anxious to find out how many are in there. My gut is telling me one based on my symptoms and beta hcg numbers, but you never know until you know.

Okay, now for a little rant, my apologies in advance. Today on my Instagram a woman who was successful on her first IVF posted about how devastated she was that only one of two stuck. I can understand being disappointed and sad, but she apparently hasn’t been able to stop crying since her ultrasound. For me, as someone who has put 2 embryos in 3 separate times prior (though never once gotten a positive or to hold a baby), I understand a connection to an embryo. But I also believe in gratitude for what you are afforded in this journey. To not be able to acknowledge enjoy and love fully the one that DID make it is quite sad to me. Sure will I be a little sad if not all 3 of mine make it? Maybe… though I believe this to be likely, but I’ll be also be so very grateful for whatever I’m blessed with.

I believe everything happens for a reason. We may not know or understand, but I don’t think I could ever pull my focus away from the beautiful life building inside me after all I’ve been through. Perhaps it’s because in the grand scheme of things she hasn’t really struggled like I have. She hasn’t lost 6 embryos like I have. She hasn’t hardened like me maybe. Perhaps that’s it. But I think a little gratitude goes a long way when so so many women would willingly trade shoes with her in an instant.

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I will be grateful. I will love fully. Whatever I may blessed with.

xo

Beta 1 = 192

So yesterday was beta day and the results came in. It was a long day of waiting, and following up, and waiting, but eventually I got an email from my clinic telling me the results were “positive” (which I was assuming) and that the HCG was 192. My progesterone was in the 50s which was also reassuring. So it was good news.

I had hoped my beta number at 11dp5dt would be a bit higher than it was, but I think that’s just me being greedy wanting reassurance. In reality, beta numbers don’t really indicate much, it’s the doubling factor that is more important. So of course now there’s nothing to do but wait until Thursday (Dec 29) to get my repeat blood work and see if the pregnancy appears to be viable. In the meantime I had to google beta numbers for reassurance and found an excellent reference HERE if you’re interested.

Given my current beta of 192, I should hope for anything above 300 on Thursday. They want to see a doubling every 48-72 hours (or 60% minimum increase in 48 hrs). So ideally I’d feel best if we saw the number around 384 but I have to be realistic and know that anything over 300 should still be an indication of success. I know myself though, and know that I’m a high achieving perfectionist, so if it doesn’t double or more, I know I’ll read into it unnecessarily.

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It doesn’t help that I had really bad cramping last night that woke me out of a dead sleep. Of course it’s 4am and I’m freaking out that I’m miscarrying or something because they were intense. Good ole Google for the win though… apparently it’s “normal” as long as there is no bleeding which luckily there isn’t… at least for now. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

Today I feel okay. I’m not nearly as stressed as I was yesterday and definitely feeling hopeful that this pregnancy will turn into a beautiful baby (or two…. or three). Based on my beta numbers I’d guess 1, but I’ve also read many forums indicating that beta numbers mean very little regarding how many are in there. Who knows, and only time will tell.

So Very Tired

So today is 9 days past our transfer, and if not for the holidays, would have been the day that we had our first beta. It sucks that we have to wait a couple extra days because of holiday hour closures etc. but in the end, a few days isn’t the end of the world. Feels that way a little bit right now simply because I’m so full of anxiety, but time will pass and next thing I know we’ll be anxiously awaiting beta #2.

That’s how it works anyway right!? Once you’re past one milestone, you’re simply worrying about the next… and the next… and the next. It’s never ending. If I can learn to let go a little bit now it’ll only serve me better in the long run. But it’s hard. Very hard.

See the thing about battling infertility is that you feel as though your body has failed you. You lack trust in your system knowing what to do, and also in its ability to do it. So yes I’m pregnant, but for that reason I’m struggling to really accept and enjoy it. Instead I’m filled with doubts about the viability, doubts about my immune system rejecting our baby(ies), doubts about whether my body is producing enough of the hormones to sustain another life (or lives). Add onto that the fact that I’m still on pills and injections reminding me daily that I can’t do this on my own really.

Any woman who has gone through infertility and come out the other side knows all too well what I’m talking about. Above all else I am so very grateful to be standing where I’m standing. Do not get me wrong on that front for one second. I would have given my left arm to make it this far. But now that I’m here, I also feel so very scared to lose it all. I’ve learned to protect my heart over the years, learned to be strong… but this is new territory, and unchartered for me. So it’s overwhelming, and it’s consuming.

I wish I could just relax and enjoy it. I really do, but I’m not going to be able to. It probably isn’t helping matters that I continue to test. Those test strips are a gal’s best friend and worst enemy all at the same time. Sure they can offer comfort… but they can also cause confusion and concern. See I have been testing mostly morning and afternoon. My morning tests are generally a bit lighter than my afternoon tests. No clue why, but consistent at least. However, lately I’ve been drinking a LOT more water, and my line isn’t getting super dark like I’ve seen other women’s. So of course I start to wonder! Does this mean my beta hcg isn’t doubling? Does this mean that my pee is just too diluted? Does this mean absolutely nothing? Does this mean I’m having a chemical? Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

“Okay, breathe”, I tell myself repeatedly. And sometimes it works. Most times it doesn’t.

The only saving grace is in the moments I feel pregnant. The moments of nausea or fatigue that take over. I welcome those moments with open arms. But it’s early days, and those moments aren’t consistent, so the lack of their presence can also cause alarm. All in all, I’m a bit of a basket case currently. The light of the end of the tunnel is beta 1, and it can’t come soon enough.

xo

O.M.G

Guys… GUYS… it happened. I finally got my BFP!!! What!?!?! Never have I ever been blessed to see a second line. Not once in my life, and certainly not once in our 5 years actively TTC (trying to conceive). Shocking and exciting and nerve wracking and so many other things!

Check out our reactions and us sharing the long awaited news with family and friends below:

I had definitely been losing hope, and I think part of me simply couldn’t believe we’d ever get our happy ending after being disappointed time and time again. But on the flip side, perhaps that was just my way of guarding my heart. We protect ourselves the best we can I suppose.

Anyways, our lines have been getting progressively darker which is encouraging and I’ve been feeling increasingly unwell which is also welcomed as it gives me hope that all is progressing well.

It is obviously VERY early and there is always a risk for a chemical or miscarriage, so we really are trying to take it day by day, but we’ve never once made it this far so that in itself is something to celebrate.

Here’s a rundown of my 2ww symptoms:

Transfer Day
Pre-Transfer: constipated but overall good
Post-Transfer: very very gassy, bloated, very mild cramping

1dp5dt
Lightheaded before eating
Very mild stretching feeling
Still constipated
Still a little lightheaded/dizzy, now after eating (in spells)
Chocolate spotting (medium heavy) after bm

2dp5dt
Super gassy and bloated
Very dull pinch lower right side
boobs mildly tender
emotional
mild cramps
light brown spotting
sharp pain in right boob for a minute
sharp pain below right boob after for a minute

3dp5dt
Nauseous dizzy and hot upon waking (very short spell)
Dizzy and nauseous while packing
Frequent urination (but also increased fluids intake)
Nipples/areolas engorged
cervix had been low, now high
some cramping on/off

4dp5dt (flight from NY to TX)
3am pee
Hip pain, pinching in uterus
Snapping, electric shock down front of uterus
breakout
bad cramping

5dp5dt
mild cramping
short wave of nausea
increased thirst
mild increased urination

6dp5dt
positive HPT a.m.
nausea
mild fatigue
mild cramping here and there
insomnia

7dp5dt
insomnia/wake to pee
nausea
mild cramping
frequent urination

8dp5dt
insomnia/wake to pee
very hungry upon waking
nauseous after eating
fatigued (but also up since 3am!)

So there you have it! That’s all for now. Need to go have a nap. Literally. I’ll be back with more thoughts and reflections on all of this shortly! xo