I guess we’re doing this

13 weeks, 4 days

We found out the results of the NIPT, cell-free DNA test, which gives information about the number of chromosomes the baby has, earlier this week. Our baby has the right number of chromosomes, including two X’s — it’s a girl!

Finding out the sex was pretty real. I’ve made it to 12 weeks with a heartbeat, so we’re at a 1-2% chance of miscarriage for normal pregnancies + whatever % for having previous miscarriages and FVL. The odds aren’t going to get a whole lot better than that. I figure waiting to be excited to tell people was maybe a) not going to happen and b) not going to work. Maybe telling people will make it more real and me more excited.

The few people who we’d told were getting antsy to tell people, and so was my husband. I finally realized I was fighting a losing battle and gave in. So I threw together a baby announcement, and we’ve sent it to our extended families and close friends now. I’m still holding out on telling work, including our friends who are my coworkers, or putting it on social media. I have my limits!!

It’s been fun getting responses back from our email/text announcements. Holy cow, some people play a strong emoji game! I’m glad I no longer have to feel bad about making people keep secrets, and I’m glad I don’t have to either. It does feel more real and more exciting now that I’ve been talking with more people about it. I think I’m never going to be “over the moon” and ecstatic the way some pregnant women are. I’m just too wounded and nervous about the whole thing. And that’s fine. People are just going to have to deal with that like I’m going to have to deal with the news being out and everyone else’s excitement.

(It’s a girl!!!!!)

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More good news!

12 weeks, 4 days

We FINALLY FINALLY had our 12-week appointment on Wednesday. As Wednesday approached, the torture of not knowing how our fetus was doing slowly fizzled into worry about what we would or wouldn’t find on the Doppler.

After a (very long) one-hour wait to see the doctor, we finally got to check on things. The plan for this appointment was just to listen for a heartbeat. I was disappointed we wouldn’t get to see it or have a picture to share, but at least I knew so in advance. What I also knew in advance was that it can take a while to find the heartbeat with the Doppler.

The doctor pulled out the handheld Doppler and squirted some ultrasound goop on my belly. (She did not say, “this is going to be a little cold,” like in the movies and TV, which was a tad disappointing.) She hunted around for quite a while for the heartbeat. My husband was apparently freaking out. Then she said she was impatient and called for a nurse to bring in the real ultrasound.

After waiting forever (more waiting!) for it to boot up, we almost immediately saw the gestational sack and little fetus squirming all over the place!! He was so active!!! I could make out the head (after some direction), torso, spine, legs, arms, heart, and eyes in different orientations. It’s was magical and mind-blowing that all that was going on inside me. I can’t feel a thing yet!

The doctor waited for a glammar “waving” shot and saved a photo for us. I told her, “I’m really glad the Doppler didn’t work.” This is a moment and a wonder I will remember for the rest of my life, and it’s so crazy that it wasn’t even supposed to happen.

So, without further ado, here’s our little Blob, who is markedly less blobby than at 7 weeks.

The day after the ultrasound felt different. I’m hopeful. A future that has us as a family of three actually seems possible now, not like a coin toss. I know there are still plenty of things that can go wrong. The second and third trimester are when my FVL might cause issues with the placenta. So I’m not all sunshine and rainbows. I doubt I ever will be, honestly. But I’m definitely as hopeful and happy as I’ve ever been about this pregnancy.

Please allow me some complaining

11 weeks, 2 days

I think I’ve been posting less this time around because a few people actually know I’m pregnant, and I can talk a bit with them instead of having thoughts bounce endlessly around in my head. But I’ve been trying not to complain too much, so I need somewhere to get that off my chest. It seems unfair to complain when so many others — of you — are struggling bravely to get pregnant in the first place. But this is really how I’m feeling, so no judgement if you don’t want to read or follow me anymore. That’s fair. You do what you gotta do, and I’ll do what I gotta do, and hopefully we’ll all make it through our respective shitty times.

It has been four weeks since our first, 7-week appointment. If you recall, I went into that appointment completely sure we’d see a nonviable embryo due to the sudden decline in pregnancy symptoms I’d had earlier that week. We saw a heartbeat and a little blob, which was honestly more shocking to me than amazing/exciting/pick-your-favorite-pregnancy-emotion.

We still have one more week to go until our next, 12-week appointment, and let me tell you, FIVE weeks is WAY TOO F*ING LONG to go with ZERO indication as to the aliveness of our blob!!!!! These are the second-most critical five weeks of the pregnancy, and having no information is agony.

In the meantime, to keep my maybe-alive-maybe-dead fetus in the best of health, I received a list from my doctor of more vitamins I need to be taking. That’s right, prenatals are apparently not enough. In addition to my prenatal, I am supposed to add Omega-3s (an unspecified amount, but it’s called Expecta and it comes in a yellow box!?), 1200-1500 mg of Calcium, and 1000 IU of vitamin D. I spent hours over multiple days on Amazon and in multiple stores trying to figure out how to make that all happen. I will also mention I do not love and am not very good at swallowing pills, especially big ones.

It is really not possible to take 1500 mg of calcium vitamins in a day, I quickly realized, so I decided to take two gummy vitamins which will give me 500 mg of calcium and 1000 IU of vitamin D. Add that to the 200 mg in my prenatal vitamins, ~300 mg from the milk on my morning cereal, and ~300 from a serving of yogurt I will now be having every day, that puts me up to 1300. And hopefully something else I eat during the day has some calcium in it. I don’t love the extra 5 g of sugar I get in the gummies, but there’s no way I could swallow that much calcium in a hard pill.

Around this time I went to get a new bottle of prenatal vitamins from the doctor, the same ones I’ve been taking with no issues for the better part of the last year, and I found out that they have been discontinued. Annnd queue up Amazon to find a new vitamin with the same amount of folic acid, calcium, and iron. I found some promising ones, tho when they arrived, I found I was underwhelmed with the shape and texture. Ugh, harder to swallow, of course.

The Omega-3s were also tricky. The usual place you find Omega-3s is in fish oil supplements. But pregnant folks are apparently supposed to avoid those because fish also are a great source of mercury. So you have to find non-fish-sourced DHA, like Expecta. I could not find the elusive yellow box, even in the doctor’s office pharmacy, so I found some pills with 300 mg DHA that looked relatively legit on Amazon. Score.

Except. It turns out these DHA pills are nearly spherical. After 3 nights of nearly choking on them, my body has decided it will no longer be swallowing pills, DHA or otherwise. No joke. I can’t even get the prenatal down anymore. I swallow, all the water goes down the hatch, and the vitamin is left on my tongue. I literally spit out 3 vitamins trying and cried my eyes out two nights ago.

So back to Amazon, where I discovered that two Flintstones children’s chewable vitamins contain exactly the same amount of folic acid and calcium as one prenatal vitamin and a little extra iron.

It’s taken me pretty much the entire last 4 weeks to get all that sorted out, but it looks like my plan is calcium gummies with breakfast, two solid servings of dairy, two Flintstones with dinner, and fuck the Omega-3s.

While the vitamin treasure hunt was going on, I also went on Lovenox, an anticoagulant injection to treat the genetic FVL mutation I have that can lead to increased risk of stillbirths and placenta problems and might also be associated with first-trimester miscarriages. From scheduling the training appointment to getting the right prescription to picking up a full month of doses, every step was hard. Of course. I will spare you the details. Surprisingly, the stabbing-myself-with-a-needle-every-night part is actually not that bad. I haven’t been bruising, and it doesn’t sting that much. The needles seem rather dull, and the worst part is shoving it in. “No need to press hard, just lead it in,” the training nurse told me. That worked with the baby needle we practiced with, but it’s very much not the case for these cheapo generic, single-use shots.

Socially, I’ve been avoiding my friends. Most of our social events involve drinking, and it seems easier to be antisocial than navigate that whole thing. I will have one drink with food when we are with friends, a couple times a week. From what I’ve read, that is an amount I’m comfortable with and I think is safe. It means I can still have a life, enjoy a tasty beverage, and not arouse too much suspicion (I hope). The other desire for avoidance is that I have to talk about normal things with normal people. I’m less and less interested in normal things, as I’m mostly thinking about vitamin logic puzzles and assessing whether my pregnancy symptoms are increasing or declining. It’s not healthy nor generally productive, so I force myself to hang out with my friends and think about normal things. But it is so much easier to curl up on the couch and not.

So the whole not-knowing-if-it’s-still-alive thing is laid across this backdrop of shoving pills down my throat and needles in my stomach and trying not to act pregnant in front of my friends. It sucks so much. I hate it, and I am so over the first trimester.

Cautious optimism

8 weeks, 1 day

We had an ultrasound last Friday, and I’ve been thinking about what I want to say here about it. I started this blog not quite a year ago when I was newly pregnant (for the second time) and my head was spinning with new emotions and questions and plans. I don’t feel that way now, but I do have some thoughts, and I feel like I owe the blog an update after a significant event.

I’d been having steadily increasing pregnancy symptoms over weeks 4-6, sore boobs, sporadic nausea, the ush. Then right as week 7 started, everything started improving. Between that and the light pregnancy tests, by the time we got to the doctor’s appointment Friday, I was 100% convinced the we’d see either an empty sack or an embryo that stopped developing at about 5 weeks. I was really only hoping for not-an-ectopic pregnancy. I told my doctor as much, and thankfully she let us skip right to the ultrasound part of the appointment. As she was scanning through, she found the sack, embryo, and then a little heartbeat. I was shocked, mostly confused. I believe my reaction was, “what.”

Everything looked good, but my overwhelming emotion was confusion and surprise more then excitement. I think my doctor was disappointed with how non-exuberant I was. Even several days later, I can’t bring myself to get excited. Frankly, I’m trying to keep myself from getting too excited. The disappointment and miscarriage process last time was just so crushing, I really can’t get my hopes up that it’s going to work out yet.

I’ve been wondering at what point I will no longer be nervous. At what point will I get excited? I’m such a planner, and I have zero interest in planning anything baby/nursery/maternity related. Our next ultrasound is in a month, at about 12 weeks. Maybe then? We’ll get chromosome results back a bit after that. Maybe then? Maybe after the anatomy scan at 20 weeks? With a heightened risk of late-term miscarriages thanks to my FVL, will I ever feel excited and hopeful until it’s safely outside me?

We’ve told a few people that I was pregnant since we stayed with them over the holidays, though with the big asterisk explained. And we updated them after the ultrasound, too. Everyone was SO excited, and it’s so weird to be the only one who’s not excited, especially since I’m the one with the kid inside me!

Really the only head-spinny aspect to me right now is the idea that a new human is growing inside me. It seems so animal, so nature-y, so primal. I can’t find the right word. We move about in a world where water comes out of a tap, and lights turn on when we flip a switch. We drive cars on roads perfectly designed to fit them that pave over the inconveniences of nature. Growing a human is the most in-touch I’ve been with nature. It feels like the only vestige of our animal predecessors that we really still experience. Humans still haven’t figured out a way to take away the inconvenience, to industrialize pregnancy. I’m sure we will at some point. But right now, I’m using my body as nature intended, to grow a new human. I guess that’s a little exciting.

Trying not to be hopeful

6w4d

Well, I’m still pregnant. My symptoms have been similar to last time I was pregnant, tho I’m not sure what to conclude from that aside from the fact that I still am. I did get a stronger positive pregnancy test several days after my missed period, but hardly the BFP of lore. I flew through the miscarriage date from my first pregnancy a week ago, and I’m now right around the point where the second one stopped developing.

It’s been a constant battle in my head against getting excited and hopeful. “I feel nauseous!” “You were still nauseous last time after it stopped developing.” “That test was unambiguously positive!” “It should have been darker.” “Maybe I drank too much water.” And so on. And so on. I can’t make it stop.

We have an ultrasound scheduled at the end of next week. If there’s a heartbeat, I’ve decided I’ll request to go on Lovenox for my FVL. As the risks are minimal, I really don’t want to suffer through a later miscarriage or stillbirth to find out that I needed to be on it.

It’d be so crushing to see a heartbeat and then come back later to not see one. I’m not thrilled about having an ultrasound at 7 weeks because it increases the likelihood of that scenario. But I do want to get on Lovenox if it’s viable or get another D&C and move on if not. At least I scheduled it for the end of the seventh week…

I hadn’t realized Christmas was such a popular time for birth announcements. They’ve been popping up all over social media. Most have been baby #2s, and given the various ages of the respective baby #1s, I’m wondering if a few of the couples had trouble conceiving. None of the announcements mentioned anything, but I wish they would. It would give me hope, and it would bring the struggles that many families experience out of the shadows.

If I knew how pervasive fertility issues were, I probably would have made a different decision about when to start trying. Everything I read and heard led me to believe that as long as I had two before 40, it should be no problem to get pregnant and have healthy babies. Of course, I knew the definition of get pregnant was get pregnant within a year of starting to try. But I had no clue the physical and emotional toil of trying for a year. If this pregnancy does take, it will be less than a year of trying, so I’d count as a success. It sure doesn’t feel like success.

I keep telling myself it’s good news that we get pregnant easily and I just have to work through my bad, old eggs to find a good one. It’s worth waiting for a good one. But why must the search be so slow and excruciating.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

I took a pregnancy test a little on the early side this weekend. It was positive but light. My husband and I didn’t celebrate. I was hopeful, but it didn’t seem worth getting excited about. I took another one today, still just as light.

Step 1: Count cycle days

Step 2: Have sex when ovulating

Step 3: Positive pregnancy test

Step 4: Wait to miscarry

Step 5: Repeat

It really doesn’t feel like I’ll ever do anything but go through this sisyphean cycle over and over and over. I like consistency and routine, so at least there’s that.

Three for three?

It’s debatable, but I’m saying this was another miscarriage. My period was 4 days late, and upon further inspection, I think there’s a second line. Mostly I don’t want to break our perfect conception rate streak. Gotta have something…

At least I get wine for Thanksgiving 🦃🍷