So, I obviously haven’t posted here in ages. As I got closer to my due date, I just didn’t have much to say! And then I had a new born, and then an infant, and now I have a 1 year old. It’s still so hard to believe, and I remind myself how lucky I am on days where I might forget.

To make a very long story short, my daughter was born the day before her due date on July 4 after a 12-hour or so labor. I had been uncomfortable for a few days and was dilated to about 4 cm by the 3rd, but things weren’t moving along at any particular speed. I though maybe I was in labor a few times, but my doctor assured me that I wasn’t, and that I would know it when I was! I woke up at 2 am the morning of July 4 and realized she was right – I was definitely in labor now! We timed my contractions for a few hours and my husband dozed on and off until about 5 am, when I decided we better go to the hospital. I was massively uncomfortable and was starting to get a little nervous about the car ride and just being home – I felt like we just needed to go. After an uncomfortable ride to the hospital, we checked an and they verified I was something like 6 or 7 cm dilated, so I was admitted and put in a labor and delivery room. I wanted to try laboring without any pain meds, so they pretty much just left us alone in the room and would just check in periodically. The nurses were amazing and so supportive! I was incredibly uncomfortable (so much more than I thought I would be!) but just kept tying to stay calm and take deep breaths. My daughter was born after about 30 minutes of pushing around 2 pm on July 4!

Everything went well after that. We had a great breastfeeding experience, but she was not what I would call an “easy” baby. She was a really big crier – maybe colicy? – and it made things pretty challenging. It wasn’t uncommon for her to spend 30 minutes or so hysterically crying multiple times a day, and there was no amount of bouncing, feeding, holding, swinging, etc. that seemed to help. After a while, we got into a groove and the worst of it passed, but by then she was only content with me. Even as an 8-week old baby, she wouldn’t let anyone else hold her – many times not even my husband!

I’m happy to say, though, that things have gotten easier as time has passed. She’s a happy girl now and is still a mommy’s girl, but she loves her daddy, too. She’s got a strong, fiery personality and is still quick to let us know when she’s unhappy, but that’s just her and we love her for it. She brings us so much joy and makes us both laugh every day.

We had some surprising news in May…we found out I was totally unexpectedly pregnant! I had just turned 40 and just assumed there was no way I would ever get pregnant on my own. After trying for 4 years and doing IVF to conceive our daughter, I just didn’t think it would happen. I was still breastfeeding, but my period had come back a few months prior, so I knew that technically it could happen, but really? I thought getting pregnant after IVF was some kind of a myth or urban legend. We’re nervous about having a two kids so close together, but I know it will work out – and I know how incredibly lucky we are, too. It’s still a bit of a shock, but I’m sure we’ll be used to the idea after a while!

I don’t think I’ll be able to update here very often – between working and having a 1 year old (and being pregnant) – I just don’t have very much time, but I’ve been meaning to post an update here for ages, in case anyone is still reading. To anyone who is reading, thank you for your support and best of luck to you!

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This post is all about pregnancy

I’m now 31 weeks. I can’t believe it!

I’m getting bigger, which is probably a good thing, but it’s totally bizarre. I always envied those pregnant bellies, but now that I have one, it’s a much stranger sensation that I would have imagined. I didn’t fully anticipate the discomfort – feeling like my skin is being stretched to its limit, that I’m running out of room. It isn’t horrible – just kind of odd. I started writing a post a few weeks ago when I was seriously uncomfortable, but I didn’t finish it. My tailbone/pubic bones literally felt like they were breaking in two, and I think I woke up every night for almost two months with intense hip pain. For whatever reason, both have vanished (although the tailbone thing returns if I’m not careful), even though my stomach is substantially larger.

I love imagining what our little girl will be like – what she’ll look like, and what kind of temperament she’ll have. It’s kind of surreal – knowing there’s this tiny baby moving around inside me (and what is she doing in there, exactly?), but knowing almost nothing about her. The whole thing is kind of scary. I’m not super scared about labor – it’s kind of intimidating, but it’s a finite event. I am scared, though, about being a parent. It’s scary to not know how I’ll react or feel once she’s here. I try to imagine it, but I know that until she’s here, I really can’t.

Sometimes I feel like I spent so long dealing with infertility that over time, I just stopped imagining what it would be like to actually have a child. I mean, I thought about it, but I stopped imagining. It’s hard to all of a sudden switch gears and imagine being a parent now. I would guess that a lot of people spend their pregnancy imagining and preparing for it, but I spent the first half of it just trying to believe that things were really going to work out. It’s STILL hard to believe, but at 31 weeks, odds are looking up.

I can’t believe it – really! I feel so lucky and incredibly grateful, but am still afraid that this could all be whisked away in the blink of an eye. I’m not worried, exactly, but I guess I’m cautious – still. I can’t get over the fact that I have baby furniture sitting in my garage, that I’m wearing maternity clothes, and that people are buying me baby presents. The whole thing is kind of surreal, and so normal. I for some reason assumed that if I was lucky enough to get pregnant via IVF, that I’d have a difficult pregnancy with all kinds of complications and scares. So far, things have been frighteningly normal. It’s good – fantastic, really – just kind of hard to believe. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed!

I have no idea if anyone is even reading this anymore, but I’ve been looking at some other blogs to see how my pregnancy symptoms/size/etc. compare to others. I’m going to try to post updates every week or so, and these will be entirely about pregnancy, so for those who are not feeling up to reading, I completely understand.

Total weight gain:
7-8 lbs. I gained about 5 lbs in the first 12-13 weeks and am trying to just keep my weight gain gradual and not excessive. During the first trimester, I had to just keep eating, or I felt sick. It was sort of bizarre to not eat when I was hungry, but because I was feeling queasy. I was afraid my weight gain was going to be really excessive, but 5 lbs is about average (maybe a tad on the high side). I was a totally normal weight when I got pregnant (but actually lost a few lbs during IVF).

Maternity clothes:
I had to start wearing maternity pants around 13 weeks. Before that, I was using a belly band with my regular jeans unbuttoned, but once they wouldn’t zip, the belly band became a little awkward. I’m not sure why I outgrew my pants so early. My clothes are generally very fitted, and I’m picky about the way everything fits, so I wonder if it’s partially just my level of tolerance for having clothes that are too tight. I can’t wear any full panel pants, but the low-rise demi panel pants and skirts from Old Navy and the Gap are great. There’s no way these jeans will fit throughout my whole pregnancy, but I’m ok with that. I also started buying some maternity shirts. I don’t need them, but the elastic waistband of the maternity jeans and pants is sometimes hard to cover up with regular shirts. I also went up a cup size, which isn’t helping things. Maternity shirts will fit me if they’re empire waist – everything else is too big. I can still wear some of my regular tops and sweaters if they’re long enough, too.

Stretch marks:
none so far.

Sleep:
I don’t sleep as well as I used to. Sometimes I wake up to pee, but other times I just wake up. I used to sleep really soundly.

Movement:
I don’t think so. I’ve wondered if I felt it once or twice, but then I think it’s probably gas. 😦

Cravings/Aversions:
Tons. I thought maybe these would go away in the second trimester, but I think they’re here to stay. Things I normally ate all the time – fresh vegetables, salads, chicken – all sound terrible. Vegetables are also still making me feel sick most of the time.

Gender:
98% chance we’re having a girl! I had a blood test to see if the baby’s blood type is positive or negative (I have o negative blood), and the test also showed the babys sex. We’re super excited!

Symptoms:
I still get worn out easily, but it’s much better than before. I also have sore breasts, but it’s better than it was throughout the first trimester. I still get nauseous at times, but it’s not bad. My skin is also dry.

Exercise:
I’m taking a regular yoga class (which I took before being pg) and modifying the poses. I stopped running and am trying to walk 3 times a week, but that hasn’t been happening. I need to be better about it. I also bought a prenatal exercise video that I plan to start soon, and I’m hoping to take a prenatal yoga class in February.

What I miss:
Wine and beer; not second-guessing everything I eat; running

What I look forward to:
Having a real baby bump. Right now I look like I drank a lot of beer.

Mood:
Good

Milestones:
Second trimester!
Also, this isn’t really a milestone, but we found out that M is not a carrier for cystic fibrosis, which was a big relief!

Medical concerns:
My post-LEEP cervix (my concern…not my doctor’s)

Sex:
We have! Not as often, but nothing bad happens when we do.

Warning – this will be all pregnancy related…

I’m 14 weeks today – very exciting!

I had my second OB appt this week. It felt like so much time had passed between appointments, and I was thankful for the holidays to distract me a little. It was SUCH a relief to hear the heartbeat again, and I know it’s early, but I am finally starting to feel more confident that this will actually work out. I’m still a little cautious, but I’m feeling more optimistic. It’s still hard to believe, really, but I’m working on it.

My body has been changing a lot. It’s sort of fascinating, but in all honesty, it’s been sort of hard, too. I didn’t think the changes would bother me, and I think as I start to look more pregnant, I’ll embrace them. Initially, though, it looked like I was just gaining a lot of weight. As someone who had been fairly fit before, this was not as easy of an adjustment as I thought it would be. I gained about four lbs in my first trimester, which I think is fairly average, but I added a layer of belly fat I wasn’t expecting. I guess I assumed you just went from normal stomach to pregnant tummy – I wasn’t aware of the fat stage in between (maybe everyone doesn’t go through this?). I know I probably sound like a whiner, and I’ll take any amount of belly fat to be able to have a successful pregnancy, but I just wasn’t prepared for it. My clothes got tighter a lot earlier than I expected, and the fact that my friends were able to wait quite a bit longer to start wearing maternity clothes didn’t help. I had to use a rubber band/ponytail holder to button my pants around 8-9 weeks, used the belly band from about 9-11 weeks, and was in maternity jeans at 12 weeks. They aren’t the type of jeans that will work throughout my whole pregnancy, but it’s a heck of a lot more comfortable than wearing jeans that I can’t zip. I know a lot of people are able to fit into their regular clothes for much longer. I also already went up a cup size in bras, so my shirts are tight or too short, as well. It’s made getting dressed a little complicated, to say the least. I’m really looking forward to looking a little more pregnant so I can just switch over to full time maternity clothes! Luckily, I noticed last night that my little lump of belly fat seems is starting to look more like a little pregnant tummy, instead of a beer belly. It’s a welcome change! I’m still a little tired and am sometimes nauseous, especially at night, but I am feeling SO much better than I was. The first trimester is really just not an awesome time.

On the medical front, things seem to be going well. We heard the baby’s heartbeat on the doppler this week, and the Dr. said everything looked good. She said at my first appointment that my cervix looked good (I had a LEEP procedure a year or two ago and wasn’t sure how much cervix I had left), but we’ll have to recheck it at the 18-20 week u/s. She said I had "enough" cervix, but that its hard to predict if I’ll have any issues as things progress. Fingers crossed that my cervix does it’s job and doesn’t get any crazy ideas! I also have O negative blood, which isn’t a huge issue, but is something to keep on the radar. I had b/w to see if the baby’s blood type is positive or negative (how crazy is it that they can do that???), and if it’s positive, I’ll have to get a Rhogam shot down the road and then again after giving birth. The test they did to determine the baby’s blood type will also show the sex of the baby, so we should find out at our next appt! I don’t know if we can get the results before then, but the one downside of my doctor’s office is that they aren’t great about reporting back with test results. It’s sort of annoying, but it’s not like waiting a few weeks to find out will make a huge difference. We also found out this week that I’m a carrier for cystic fibrosis. My husband is being tested now to see if he is, too. Odds are that he isn’t, but if he is, we’ll need to see a genetic counselor. I sort of wish my RE had tested us for this, because we may have opted for pgd testing when we did IVF, but I can’t worry about that now. Hopefully, M is not a carrier, and that will be the end of it. If he is, there’s a 25% chance the baby could have cystic fibrosis. The odds are really in our favor – M is hopefully not a carrier, and if he is, there’s a 75% chance the baby would not have CF, which are good odds. The thing is that we still have two frozen embryos, and I don’t know how many times we would want to chance it. I’m really hoping, though, that none of this will even be an issue – and that the test will show that M is not a carrier. I’m operating on the assumption that he isn’t and that everything will be fine. Why worry until there’s a reason to, right?

My first OB appointment was on November 26. I was nervous about it…I liked the safety of the RE’s office, and I had to pick an obstetrician because my gynecologist doesn’t practice obstetrics any more. I really enjoyed that fact until now, when I actually needed one.

It was a strange experience. I was nervous, although I don’t know why, really. I kept looking around the room at all the pregnant people feeling almost a little resentful, and then I’d remind myself that I was, in fact, pregnant, too. I feel like I prepare myself for bad news before every appointment. Its such a mix of emotions…on one hand, I get excited and can’t wait to have confirmation that everything is fine. But I also start preparing myself for bad news, and hoping that everything is ok. I told people that I’d feel better when I heard the heart beat, and then that I’d feel better when I heard the heart beat a second time, and then that I’d feel better at the end of the second trimester. I’m still not there, so maybe I really will feel better then.

A lot of people think I’m worried, but I’ve realized that worry isn’t really the right term. I think I’m just in disbelief – that this could actually work out, and that after all this time, that I could actually have a baby. I’m so used to preparing myself for the worst and having to just accept that we would probably never have children that it’s hard to switch back – much harder than I thought.

I’ve been feeling pretty lousy lately, and between that and working and having family visit for the holidays, I seem to have neglected this space.

Things are going well so far. I’m 9 weeks today, which I find amazing and frightening all at the same time. I just keep thinking that after all this time, I can’t be this easy. I’m trying to shake my fear and just accept that maybe for once, it’s just going to work out. As soon as I start to embrace it, though, I feel like I’m jinxing myself. I know that’s crazy – looking at strollers online isn’t going to cause a miscarriage – but it’s where my mind goes. I fear that as soon as I allow myself to be excited about my pregnancy, it will all be taken away.

I was released from my RE earlier this week, and because my gynecologist doesn’t practice obstetrics any more, I had to find an OB. I debated and debated and debated some more – showed my husband all the options for hospitals in the area and the pros and cons of each – and in the end just went with my gut feeling. I had five recommendations – three from my RE, one from a friend (who has several friends who also go to the same practice), and one from my gynecologist. Unfortunately, I wasn’t 100% happy with the ones my RE recommended. The one my friend recommended is staffed half by OB’s and half by midwives. They deliver at the hospital I really wanted to use, but I just wan’t entirely sold on their philosophy. I would love to feel really strongly about a non-interventionist birth plan and be able to trust that my body is going to do what it’s supposed to, but I’m just not there yet. At the moment, I’m more concerned about my cervix (from my LEEP) and just being reassured that everything will be ok. IVF involves so much monitoring and feedback, and I don’t think I could handle an abrupt change to something so much more laid back. So, I went with my gynecologist’s suggestion and am seeing the dr. she wholeheartedly recommended. I hope I like her! The only negative is that the practice and the hospital are downtown, and traffic can be a bear. I was hoping to avoid it (especially since there are three hospitals 10 minutes from my house), but I decided the doctor is more important than the location. I see her next week – fingers crossed!

I’m starting to feel a tiny bit better. I still feel sick if I don’t eat often (like every hour), but the extreme nauseousness I felt earlier in the week and about a week ago seems to have subsided – at least for now. It seems to come and go, which is nice, really, especially if the alternative is feeling sick 100% of the time. It seems worse when I’m tired or not drinking enough water, so I’m trying to keep an eye on those things. If I’m not super nauseous, I’m just generally slightly queasy, which has been the case for the past three weeks. I can handle that – but the extreme nauseousness is a bit tougher. At least I’m not actually vomiting!

I got the results of my bloodwork back today, three days since I stopped taking crinone. It was ok – my progesterone was 25 – so a significant decrease from what it was, but high enough that they said I don’t need to go back on it. They said they want it above 15, and that 25 is normal. I’d feel better if it were maybe 30, or even 35. My estradiol continued to increase once I stopped taking medication, and it would have been nice if my progesterone did the same thing. I know they said its fine, and I’m trying to trust them, but I would feel better if it were just a bit higher. I wish I could just relax and not worry so much, but it’s so hard.

I’m not having any bloodwork or anything until the 26th, which is my next ultrasound. I am just keeping everything crossed that everything continues to be ok.

Sometimes, I feel like all my rational thought has gone out the window.

I felt really good after my doctor’s appointment on Monday. Everything looked good, we heard the heart beat, and my doctor estimated that our chances of miscarriage were down to about 12%. All great news! I breathed a sigh of relief and enjoyed the rest of my day. I realized on Tuesday morning, though, that no one had called me to update me on my bloodwork. They’re only monitoring my estradiol and progesterone at this point, but I’d still like to know what’s going on. I got in touch with the nurse on Tuesday, and I guess my bloodwork results had been delayed for some unknown reason. After looking at the results, my doctor decided I could stop taking crinone. She said my progesterone had gone up each week and was now up to 42, which meant my body was producing enough of it to stop the crinone. I was happy that not only was my body doing what it was supposed to, but I could stop taking the crinone, too! I have to get my progesterone checked on Friday, just to make sure everything is going ok, which is reassuring, too.

My happiness has turned to fear as I’ve become convinced that I’m not producing enough progesterone. I know rationally that everything looked fine – that my levels kept increasing as my dose stayed exactly the same – but it still freaks me out. On top of that, crinone leaves behind some “residue.” This may be TMI (unless you’re taking crinone – then you probably know all about it), but it leaves behind these chunks of stuff that are kind of gross. Even though I didn’t take crinone yesterday, I’m still dealing with its aftermath. Yesterday, I passed some rather large chunks, and along with it was almost a tiny bit of spotting. Spotting is almost too strong of a word – it was more like CM with a little bit of a brown tint to it. I freaked out, of course, but at the same time, I’m fairly confident that it’s from the crinone debris that’s all wedged up in there. I was on it for 4-and-a-half weeks, so who knows what’s going on in there (and how much it got moved around when I had my ultrasound!). Still, though, even knowing that, and that it hasn’t happened since – I’m still completely paranoid.

I still feel lousy, and my boobs still hurt, so that’s reassuring, but I wish I could just let go of this fear that something is going wrong.

I used to wonder why so many people stopped updating their blogs once they got pregnant after dealing with infertility. Now I know…or at least I know why I have.

It’s because it’s totally weird.

I know there’s the physical stuff – being tired, feeling nauseous – but for me, it’s the mental aspect that leaves me sort of quiet, I guess. I really just don’t know what to say.

It’s such a strange feeling to just about come to terms with the fact that you may never have a child, go through the ups and downs of an IVF cycle, and then find out that you’re pregnant. I expected when I first found out to be jumping up and down with excitement, or maybe crying tears of joy (although I am really not much of a crier, so that’s probably an unrealistic expectation), but really what I felt was relief, and maybe some fear. Each time I waited for the results of my bloodwork, it was the same – more fear, and more relief. People kept asking me if I was excited, and I would usually say something like ‘yes, but it’s early, so I’m just really cautious.’ Really, though, it’s hard to be excited when you’re slightly freaked out the majority of the day. I want to let it all go and just enjoy things, but it’s hard. I feel SO lucky and grateful, but there’s a part of me that just can’t believe it. I still just find it hard to believe we’re actually going to have a baby. After four years of trying, giving up, and trying again, we’re really going to have a baby?

We went to a party on Friday, and some of the people there knew I was pregnant (we aren’t telling tons of people but aren’t super secretive about it, either). I hadn’t seen them in ages, and it was bizarre to be talking to them about pregnancy symptoms, obstetricians, and childbirth. It was so awesome, in some ways, but surreal in others. I almost feel like an imposter – or that I imagined the whole thing – and that any day now I’ll find out I’m really not pregnant at all.

Yesterday, we had our first ultrasound, and we saw the heartbeat. To say it was a relief was beyond an understatement. It was amazing and awesome and so much better than I thought it would be. It was like some of my fears just floated away with that sound.

I can’t say I’m not scared anymore, and I’m still freaking out a little bit multiple times throughout the day. But, it is getting a little easier. I think (and hope) that I’ll feel more secure with each day and week that passes, and that by the time we hit the second trimester, I’ll feel like we’re actually having a baby.

History

2014
May: BFP for baby #2, due January 2015

2013
July: Our daughter is born!

2012
November: Still pregnant. Fingers crossed! EDD 7/5/13
October: retrieval 10/12; 5dt 10/17; BFP!!! 10/25-hcg=70; 10/29-hcg=391
September-October: IVF, microdose lupron flare protocol
June-July-August: approved! dealing with scheduling issues and most likely starting IVF in September
May: waiting for insurance approval to start treatment
April: laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrioma on left ovary; diagnosed with stage 3 endo
March: RE finds cyst - suspects endometrioma; also high FSH, low AMH
February: consult with RE; bloodwork, hsg

2011
January-February: Acupuncture once per week, vitex and natural progesterone after ovulation; back to charting bbt
March-April: end of ttc
May:diagnosed with severe cervical dysplasia (CIN III)
July-August: L.E.E.P. procedure and recovery

2010
December: Start acupuncture
May-November: Not actively trying/on a break/enjoying life
April: Not actively trying, still waiting for insurance coverage for injectables
January-March: still waiting to start injectables

2009
December 09-March 10: On a break while waiting to start injectables
November 2009: 50 mg Clomid CD 5-9; BFN
October 2009: All tests normal; Take 50 mg Clomid CD 5-9; BFN
July 2009: Ob/gyn asks for bbt chart, S/A, CD3 b/w; plan tbd.
April/May 2009: Switch from OPKs to the Clearblue Fertility Monitor
March/April 2009: Start using OPKs and bbt

2007-2008
Sept/Oct 2008: Stop preventing; 'if it happens, it happens'
Summer 2008: Stop BCPs; using bbt chart to prevent pregnancy
May 2007: Married again! husband #2; no plans for children

Previous Life
Fall 2005: Divorced
Summer 2005: See RE; more b/w, clomid challenge test, sonohysterogram; 2 Clomid IUI cycles - BFN; male factor discovered (he now has a child with wife #2)
Spring 2003: See ob/gyn for IF, get b/w and HSG; All results normal; Husband #1 gets S/A, which he says is normal; results never sent to ob/gyn
Spring 2002: Stop BCPs, begin ttc and charting bbt
Oct 2000: Married to husband #1