Thursday, October 31, 2013

Anxiety and Pregnancy

That has been my thought since multiple tests confirmed I was pregnant. To be honest, no amount of confirmation made me really believe it. Not even a trip to the doctor's office, not even getting an official due date. Hell, I'm staring at my 12 week ultrasound picture and seeing a REAL HUMAN and I still think...

Is this even real?

This can't happen to me. I can't get pregnant. All those times trying and never have I ever been pregnant. Why this time? It must not be real. I didn't want to believe it was real just in case it was taken away from me. Then I could convince myself it was all a dream, a good dream, but a dream. The same dream I had been having for over 4 years.

For the most part, after my 12 week ultrasound, the anxiety I had been feeling since the moment that test turned positive melted away. I felt happy and relieved. I still have my moments of fear and worry but I think that is normal. I've noticed that in the days leading up to my prenatal appointments, I get a rush of anxiety washing over me. I worry I'll get bad news. My worry-wart personality is a bit catastrophic and I think just because I'm not showing yet and it is too soon to really start feeling movement that something must be wrong. And trying to use that stupid at home fetal doppler just isn't good either because I can't get it to find the baby's heartbeat. No amount of throwing up in the shower or feeling tired at 1:00 p.m. or extreme hunger can convince me that things are 100% okay.

I am trying my best to work through these moments of fear. I think about what I've learned in therapy over the past year and send those worries down the hypothetical stream that carries my fears away to a distant place since worrying does nothing to change any outcome and does everything to take me out of living for the moment.

But this anxiety is real and I know that I am allowed to experience it and feel it and decide what to do with it as long as it doesn't become overpowering. And 24 weeks from now when I deliver my baby, a new set of fears and worries will come along and I'll have to learn how to cope with those and send them down the stream as well.


My main method to keeping these fears under control is to take things moment by moment and day by day. I'm not thinking too far ahead. I'm enjoying today for what it is providing me. I can still fit into my clothes. I can still sleep on my stomach. I don't have anything stopping me from painting my toe nails. I know in time, those things will change but all I can do now is appreciate today.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

15 Weeks

This is my first published weekly update! I've been writing posts (almost) every Thursday and keeping them as drafts to be able to remember what I've been experiencing but I think I will start publishing them every few weeks. Not much changes week to week so I don't see a reason to post weekly.

My two pregnancy apps say the baby is as big as either an apple or an avocado. I can't believe how small that is but how big it has grown in just a few weeks!

Physical Symptoms: The past two mornings, I've had to make serious puke plans on my drive in to work. I should start driving only in the slow lane in case I have to pull off the road. Who told me that nausea and morning sickness go away after the first trimester? LIARS. I felt wonderful on Tuesday but not so much yesterday and today. Luckily, chewing gum helps take the edge off and I'm trying to chug water to hydrate myself.

I also feel as if an elephant is standing on my chest, making it very difficult to breath at times. I have even considered taking the elevator up ONE FLOOR at work but I have refrained. I just have to take the stairs slowly and even take a brief rest at the landing. Pathetic, I tell you. Hey Baby D, you can have some of my oxygen but not all of it! You are grounded.

I still don't think I am showing although a few people seem to think my preexisting stomach fat is a baby bump. I assure you it is not. My lower stomach is get harder and at night, it seems to bulge out a bit more but I see no signs of a pregnant belly quite yet. I hear some people say they didn't really start showing until 20 weeks with their first so I have a while to go.

Lastly, getting out of bed in the morning seems like a punishment. I've always loved sleep but I can't get enough of it these days. And although I am not as fatigued as I was earlier in this pregnancy, knowing how painful it is to get out of bed has me running to hit the pillow before 8:00, even though I'm staying up a bit later.

Emotional Symptoms: I don't think I'm going through any major emotional swings. I'm an emotional person by nature but I have found that I do get that urge to cry even when not prompted by anything. Just driving along, not thinking about a thing and then BAM, I start to get a knot in my throat. I did cry at the finale of Project Runway the other day but I think I've done that in the past. Again, I'm pathetic.


Looking forward to: I am anxious for our ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. It will be nice to be able to identify exactly what I'm growing. I'm excited to start showing and looking forward to telling some of my students about the pregnancy. It feels weird just blurting it out, especially with students that I don't have a close relationship with yet. I told a few of my high schoolers yesterday and their reaction was so great. I always thought I would want to shout it from the rooftops and tell every person that crossed my path but for the most part, I'm very quiet about it. I guess I should appreciate the last few weeks of this before I start to show and won't have a choice but to tell people so they don't think I'm just getting fat.

I hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall (weather) is overrated

Here in Northern California, it is NOT fall. Yesterday, it was 86 degrees out. I went to the pumpkin patch on Sunday and by the time I left at noon, my back was drenched with sweat. I didn't run the a/c at all over the weekend and opted to just open windows but because it was so stinkin' hot, my house was like an oven.

The mornings are cold. It is 51 degrees out right now at 7:00 a.m. But by 3:00, it will be in the mid-80's with no breeze. How do I dress for this weather?????? Freeze in the mornings but be comfortable in the afternoons or be warm in the mornings and dripping sweat by 2:00?

This is why I am Team Summer/Team Winter. You know what you are going to get. In the summer, the mornings are hot, the daytime is hot and the evenings are hot. In winter, it is cold all.the.time. Easy to dress for. Fall and Spring are my least favorite seasons because the temperatures change too much from morning to afternoon. I like the changing of seasons (one reason I hated living in L.A.-80's all the time) but I really dislike these in between temperatures.

Bring on December!!!!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Conflicted

It is hard to believe that I started this blog 5.5 years ago. I now have over 1,200 posts. I enjoy looking back at this written snapshot of my life and recalling memories that seem so far gone in my mind.

For much of the life of this blog, I documented coming to grips with being infertile. I wrote about our medical procedures, vented about those failing to work and addressed my inner most thoughts on the topic of Infertility. This blog was my therapy. During a time when I had to stop reading Mommy/Pregnancy blogs, I knew I could come to this space and spill my thoughts and be comforted with words of support.

I don't want to forget my struggle. I don't want to forget where I came from or what I went through. But I do want to write about my current life situation just as honestly as I wrote about planning my wedding or trying to get pregnant while dealing with obstacles.  And that is my conflict. I don't want people to say "oh, she got pregnant and now that is all she talks about. I can't connect to that at all."

If you feel that way, I hope you hear me out. I think I have a unique perspective to offer. Pregnant AFTER Infertility. And you will know that I had a visit with my therapist last week and plan on going again in December because pregnancy after infertility is tough. I want to write about that. I want to share what I've gone through and what I'm feeling. I want to tell you that I had to throw up in a public trash can while on a walk Saturday morning because my morning sickness hit me out of nowhere. I want to tell you that my first trimester consisted of me constantly squeezing my boobs to make sure they were still sore. I want to ask your advice and get your feedback.

But I also do not want to jeopardize anyone by making them feel left out. Or sad. Or shove in their face that some people get pregnant and others don't. That is not my mission. I've been there and that is not what my goal is for this blog.

I think my goal will be to create a balance. I can't please anyone but most importantly, I need to write what I feel comfortable writing so in another 5.5 years, I can look back and fondly remember this time in my life like I've been able to do with the past 5.5 years.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. As always, thanks for your support!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The White Horses and Patience

Nanny (my mom's mom) taught her children and their children and their children many things during her 92 years on earth. To be honest, she has continued to teach us beyond her days with us. Her nickname was Patience. Most people called her that, in fact. You would have thought it was her given name. When she passed in 2007, I was mostly sad about all the amazing events that she would miss. I would miss her knowledge and reassurance that things would work out. I would miss her faith and her strong convictions. Thankfully, she left us with traditions and lessons that I carry with me daily.

One of those traditions is a bit silly. Nanny taught us that whenever we saw a white horse, we had to lick our left pointer finger, "stamp it" on our right hand, and "seal it" with our left fist. She insisted it was good luck. I've been on the look out for white horses most of my life and to this day, I lick, stamp and seal every time I spot one. I even taught Chris how to do it. On our way to softball, we would see a white horse and he followed my lead.

Lick, stamp, seal.

"What is this for again?" he would ask.

"Good luck." I said.

In the past year, I wondered what kind of good luck had been sent my way from decades of wishing on white horses. Sometimes, I never really thought of the outcome. It was just a way to stay connected to Nanny and pass along the tradition to Chris, although he insists on calling her "Nanners" which my mom pointed out that she would probably love.

I now have a different view of those white horses. Perhaps they are responsible for the loads of good fortune I have had in my life the past 34 years but there was something missing. And when that pregnancy test popped up positive and we got to see our baby moving and stretching on the screen last Monday, I thought of Nanny and those white horses and considered this baby a gift from her.

A gift for all those years of licking my finger, stamping my hand, sealing it in and believing that someday, this luck would pay off big time!

A lesson in Patience. How fitting.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Baby D Details!

It was a Saturday night in July.....

JUST KIDDING. Not those kinds of details! Considering how up front I've always been about our journey to get pregnant, I thought I would fill in the blanks a bit about what has been going on the past 2 months.

***Like I said in my post on Monday, I found out I was pregnant by taking two tests at work on 8/2. When I was just 2 days late, I looked back at 12 previous cycles and noticed that in July 2012, my cycle lasted 28 days which is unusual for me. I immediately figured that in July 2013, my cycle would be the same and decided to just move on with my life and expect my period on Thursday the 1st or Friday the 2nd. When I got to work Friday morning and had no normal signs of anything, I drove to CVS, got a cheap test and took it in the bathroom at work. It immediately came up positive. I ran outside and called Chris. I was crying harder than I have ever cried in my life and my left leg was shaking so bad, I thought I would collapse. We determined that the test wasn't accurate and I should go get another. (A Friday in August means it is DEAD in my office so sneaking in and out was easier than usual.) I didn't want to go back to CVS, so I headed to Safeway and got the last digital test on the shelf. I chugged a bottle of water on the way back but still needed to wait 30 minutes to get the urge to use the bathroom (hilarious, since I've had no problem going pee anytime in the last 2 months). When it was finally time, I sent Chris a text (and my BFF Melissa, who was on Period Watch with me all week) and got down to business. I stood in the corner of the largest stall while the hour glass turned. I was a nervous wreck. Finally, I leaned towards the test and saw.... 
Commence freak out. Commence running outside to call Chris. We again decided that I should probably get a blood test to confirm. I also called Melissa, who is the most amazing person in the entire world and to be able to share that moment with her, where I said "it's positive" was so special. We cried together and were basically speechless over the phone. I told her that I had taken 2 tests that morning but didn't tell her the first was positive because I didn't believe it.  The amazing people in the Infertility clinic ordered me a blood test that would give me a quantitative hcg test reading. That number was 854. The incredible regular doctor, who went through IVF, called me the following Monday and said she would order me two more hcg tests to ensure my numbers doubled. The results from Monday were 5605 and the results from Wednesday were 12,217. Doubling and doubling. Good signs!

***This is when the secret keeping really started. Aside from a couple people at work and Melissa, no one else knew about this. I kept this secret from my parents, extended family and Chris' family for 3 weeks. And let me tell you-it was NOT EASY. Within that 3 week period, I drove 4 hours total with my sister and dad and spent time that evening at an event with my mom, dad and sister. We had both families over to celebrate my birthday and the following weekend, gathered to have my dad's retirement party. It was not easy to avoid family over that time and I really don't know how we managed to keep it a secret. I felt strongly about waiting until we had our first appointment and saw a heartbeat before revealing the news. In the meantime, I continued to take pregnancy tests like it was part of my job. Don't judge. 4 years of trying to conceive will make you crazy with doubt.
Yeah, that isn't even all the tests. I ordered a bunch of cheap test strips online and took them nearly DAILY. 
Hashtag insaneinthemembrane


***After our appointment on Friday the 23rd (in which I couldn't even speak in the morning, I was so nervous), we were on Cloud 9. We ran some errands and made plans to meet Chris' sister for lunch and share the news with her. We had our plans all set out for how we would tell each family member and for his family, it required a few steps. We met Miranda for lunch and sneakily showed her a picture of the ultrasound. That set the wheels in motion. On Saturday morning, we got up and went over how we would spend the next few hours, reviewing the order and confirming that people would be home. We didn't want to raise any suspicion, so we planned to visit people individually, saying that we had something to give them or show them, etc. This post is already crazy long so I don't want to go into each reveal in detail but I will say that everyone was completely shocked. It all went off without a hitch and by the time we left my sister's house after our last reveal, I was exhausted. And relieved. It was a wonderful day! I went to dinner with Melissa that night and got to share everything with her. This pregnancy finally felt real!

***A few days after that appointment, I got a call from radiology to schedule my 20 week ultrasound. I was shocked they schedule this so soon but excited to know that on November 23, we will know if we are having a boy or girl! At the time, it seemed so far away but now, it is just around the corner!

***My next prenatal appointment was scheduled for Monday October 7th and we also decided to have a nuchal translucency scan (a sonographic prenatal screening to help identify higher chances for chromosomal conditions including Down syndrome in a fetus). Since we last saw the baby on the screen at just 6 weeks, I wanted another chance to see the baby so that is the main reason I opted into this scan. Also, with my age (34) and our history of infertility, I thought it would be a good idea. I like the idea of being armed with as much knowledge as possible and to get the peace of mind that the baby is 1) healthy or 2) ability to make new plans if something came back with a high risk. This would be the day that we would start telling the world about our baby. We set up some plans to meet with friends so we could reveal the news in person but by the time 11:00 hit on Monday, we threw that out the window and I started furiously texting/Facebook messaging every single person I knew. We didn't want to wait until Saturday or later to announce on Facebook so the news went out and we were flooded with well wishes. Monday was an incredible day that I will never forget. We both received so many texts, emails and messages filled with happiness and joy. I was so happy to finally be able to share the news with people that supported us along the way.

***As for my symptoms over the past 2 months, I have experienced the main first trimester stuff: nausea, barfing, fatigue, extreme hunger, constantly going to the bathroom. While it hasn't been a complete walk in the park, it hasn't been as bad as other people have had it. Last week was the most extreme as far as morning sickness goes. I threw up Monday,  Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I'm usually fine once I get something in my stomach but Saturday threw me for a loop when the baby decided it didn't like my breakfast and I threw up twice in one hour. Ouch. The fatigue was also interesting to deal with. A few nights, I found myself in bed at 6:30 and I slept the entire night. I just couldn't stay awake. That seems to have mostly gone away although I do get tired around 1:30 each afternoon, I've been able to stay up past 8:00 the past few nights. Go me!

***And finally, for those of you that might have wondered: this pregnancy was a result of baby-making the old fashioned way. And no, it isn't because I was relaxed. That is a myth. Infertility is not cured by relaxation. I'm not sure why 5+ IUI's didn't work. I'm not sure why after 4 years of trying this happened now. But I do believe, more now than ever, that everything does happen for a reason.

This was just our time. Our time for a miracle. A miracle baby.


Monday, October 7, 2013

"Out of difficulties, grow miracles."


On a beautiful day in August, I took 2 pregnancy tests at work. I was late. I'm never late. I didn't suspect a thing. Why should I? Me, pregnant? Not possible.

I learned that day that miracles do happen. They don't happen when you want them to but sometimes, miracles show up when you least expect them. Like on a Friday in August. And again, three weeks later when you see your baby on the screen for the first time. Sure, it looks like a speck but you can hear the heart beating and although you are only 6 weeks along, you  know that the baby on the screen is meant for you. 6 weeks down the road, you brace yourself for an appointment that will give you relief or change your entire life. The miracles keep coming. You are blessed to learn that your baby is healthy and growing and things are right on track. 

Friday August 2 was wonderfully special. 

Saturday August 24, when we made the rounds to tell our immediate families the news was a day I will never forget.

Today, Monday October 7. This was the day dreams are made of. This was the day that I've been daydreaming about in my mind for years. The day we get to tell friends, family and the world that we are expecting a baby. I thought this day would never happen for us. I had come to terms with the reality of our future. Just when you think you know what your future holds, your fortune shifts. 

Dear readers of this blog, you have been more supportive than I could have ever asked for. Every sad post, every failed attempt at creating a baby, every time I turned pain into humor, you were there. Over 4 years have passed since we first started trying to conceive and today, I am so happy to say:

I am 13 weeks pregnant. I am due in April. We are happier than we ever thought possible. 

Today, at 13 weeks, 4 days. Measuring a week ahead of the first  measurement that took place at 6 weeks, 1 day.

In just 6 calendar weeks, look how much our baby grew! Insane!!!

I'm not sure how much I will update. I don't want to become overbearing and annoying. I have  15+ posts that I have written in draft form over the past 2 months that I'll keep private. I think I'll plan to sprinkle in some information here and there but as you can tell from my blog silence lately, I just don't have much to write about anymore. 

I'll be around but if I am gone for too long, know your love and support means the world!