pregnancy after infertility

Quick and Dirty

It’s been a long while since I’ve updated so I’m making this one a quick and dirty bullet point list. Sorry, not sorry. Also, it’s basically all pregnancy stuff.

  • I am 15w2d. We are officially out on Facebook. It’s still weird having everyone know about this pregnancy.
  • I created the new blog. If you are interested in following and don’t have the link because you aren’t on Twitter or my Facebook friend, send an email to the email address on my about page. Please let me know who you are. I want my fellow infertiles to be able to follow but it’s a much more personal blog (names and pictures and stuff) and even though it’s technically public I don’t want to share the link with just any random internet person. I am not posting the link here because I don’t want to link it to this blog in any way.
  • My latest OB appointment went well. The midwife was running behind and pretty manic but she still took the time to listen to and respond to all my questions (and I had several). No ultrasound but she found a heartbeat with the Doppler right away. We shared our news on Facebook that day. The biggest thing that came out of the appointment was that I swallowed my pride and asked for a Zoloft prescription. So I’m now back on a very low dose of Zoloft.
  • I’m missing the first group appointment because of our family vacation. Which means I won’t have my next actual OB appointment until September. The midwife did ask that I do a phone consult with her before my trip. I’m really nervous about the group appointment in September. One of my biggest social anxiety triggers is coming into a group where everyone else already knows each other but nobody knows me. But there’s nothing I can do about that now.
  • I had my genetic counselor appointment last week. Long story short they aren’t terribly worried about genetic stuff. They told me a bit more about the inv9 and are going to do a blood test to confirm that I have the standard deviation that is considered benign. There was also a concern about spina bifida because my half-sister’s daughter has it, but because she’s my half-sister’s daughter and not my full niece they said my chances of having a baby with it are the same as anyone’s. I have to go in this week for the second part of the SIS blood test and that inv9 test. If anything is abnormal they’ll call me. Otherwise we wait until August 25 when I have my anatomy scan. Depending on the results of the blood tests and anatomy scan we will determine if further testing such as an amniocentesis is recommended for me. Fingers crossed it’s not.
  • I also met with a social worker but it didn’t go exactly as planned. I had scheduled to meet with the OB social worker after my genetics appointment so I didn’t have to make a second trip to the hospital. She called me that morning and left a voicemail that she was not going to be in because her kid was sick, but I hadn’t listened to the voicemail (I mistakenly thought it was something else, my bad). So when I went to the OB desk to check in and they told me she wasn’t there I was all kinds of confused. I was already feeling really raw from the genetics appointment dredging up some family stuff. They had a back up on call and they called her to come talk to me. I really felt I needed to talk to someone so I waited for her. She was nice (she usually works in L&D and NICU) but not entirely the right fit for me. I still need to call the regular OB social worker and schedule another appointment.
  • Speaking again of swallowing pride, I broke down and asked for help on Facebook last week. Thanks to that a friend of a friend is going to be driving hubby into work for the rest of this week. I still have to pick him up because of his half-day schedule but it cuts my driving in half and allows me to sleep in a bit in the mornings. We are hoping that by next week he’ll be able to drive himself. He’s had some major changes at work that I can’t discuss here but I’ve been doing my best to just be there for him and support him with everything.
  • Hubby also dropped a bomb on me that it is possible that he might get orders to another base before he has the surgery on his other foot. My understanding had always been that they were keeping him here until he’d recovered from both surgeries because we have here one of very few MTFs that do that particular procedure. So now I’m paranoid that he’s going to get orders in the fall and we’re going to PCS when I’m 7 or 8 months pregnant.

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A River In Egypt

*Warning* Pregnancy related post ahead.

The truth is that I’m in denial that I’m pregnant. I’m being good, following the rules for what I am supposed to eat or avoid, what medications are safe. All that shit. But deep down inside, I don’t believe it. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep cataloging all the people I’m going to have to un-tell about the pregnancy. This week my mom is out of town. So now when I run the scenario in my head for what happens when I start bleeding and I have to go to the ER and my hubby can’t drive me, I literally don’t know who else to ask. My sister I guess?

I haven’t been doing my homework. I still haven’t scheduled my anatomy scan or called the social work clinic (obviously there’s a need for that). I haven’t been reading the little book the hospital gave me or taking notes in it or recording anything about the pregnancy like the shitty apps I downloaded tell me to. I haven’t been reading the one other pregnancy book I own.

I’m nearly in the second trimester and I am completely unprepared. Part of me is saying that I have 28 weeks left to deal with everything. Part of me is saying but I’ve already let a third of the time pass without doing anything! Except I bought a shirt for the cat. It’s fucking adorable. He hates it.

And then something happens like I read a story about someone who lost a pregnancy around this time and I become convinced that this is already over. In the past couple of days my symptoms have really subsided in many ways, which of course could be a result of being nearly out of the first tri, but I’ve convinced myself that it’s just going to be a loss. Like, don’t get too attached to this baby because you never know when it will all be over.

My next appointment is the group thing and I’m not even sure I’ll get a scan (hopefully at least a Doppler?). I’m terrified of finding out the baby has died while in a room with other pregnant women. Luckily it appears that my husband will be there with me for this appointment. So that helps. A little.

I’ve been avoiding talking about the pregnancy on Twitter for the past few days in part because of all the difficulty so many are having with so many of us pregnant, but also because I don’t know how to talk about all this in 140 characters or less. I don’t know how to talk about this at all really.

I completely lost it tonight. I hit the wall of ‘can’t take care of everyone else anymore, why can’t someone take care of me?’ and I hit it hard. My husband was there to pick up the pieces but it was not fun. With my mom out of town I’m also responsible for helping take care of my dad. He will be 80 in November, he’s a diabetic amputee (all his toes and about half of one foot, one toe on the other foot), and he can go through bouts of depression especially when he’s home alone all day every day. So my sister and I are taking turns visiting him and taking him places and we’re calling and chatting with him at least once every day. But it just adds to my already overwhelmed burden right now. But he’s my daddy and I would do absolutely anything for him.

I really need to call the social work clinic tomorrow. I told hubby to help me remember. I need to make an appointment and get in and talk to someone asap. And I probably need to be back on medication too. The depression lately has been no joke.

And all that is what I haven’t been saying.

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Pregnancy After Loss

I owe you all easily a dozen or so posts. Sorry. I’ll catch up at some point. I just haven’t felt much like sitting in front of my computer lately. Probably because my office is a terrible mess and being in here makes me feel guilty. But I digress. I wanted to talk a bit about my experience with being pregnant after a loss and the seriously amazeballs midwife I saw today. This is going to be a pregnancy-heavy post so skip it if you need.

For some people, namely my husband and my mother-in-law, it has seemed like ever since we were confident that this pregnancy was in the uterus and especially since we saw a heartbeat that they are absolutely certain that this is a pregnancy that will end in a take home baby. I’m not that certain. I have hope. I have a lot of hope and it increases every day. But I’m still scared. Even though I’ve only had the one loss and we are like ten steps further than we ever got with that pregnancy, I’m still scared. Leading up to my appointment today it had been three weeks since I last had an ultrasound and I was scared of a missed miscarriage. I had no logical reason for that fear. I still have all the symptoms (they come and go but some are here daily). The statistics at this point are in my favor. But I’ve known too many people who have lived in those tiny, scary statistics to count on something like that.

So I’ve been anxious, worried, stressed. My husband doesn’t get it. He’s so sure everything is okay this time. And it has been. But my fears are there.

Today I had my first regular OB appointment. The orientation a couple weeks ago was mostly paperwork and and overview of the process. I met with one of the midwives and she was fucking fantastic. I can’t even explain to you how great she was. She totally understood that I was scared without me even having to say anything. Well, I did fill out a form that mentioned that I’d had a lot of anxiety lately. She had clearly reviewed my chart and knew all about the ectopic. She was so comforting with everything she said. She not only acknowledged that I had the fear, but that having it was normal and okay.

I wasn’t due for a formal ultrasound today but one of the first things she said was that I wasn’t leaving without first seeing the baby and/or hearing the heartbeat. So I had my first external ultrasound. Blobby was moving all over the place, which was so amazing to see. The movement meant it took a bit for her to finally get the heartbeat but I eventually got to see and hear it. She didn’t do any measurements but just seeing Blobby moving like that made everything okay. When she was having trouble getting the heartbeat she kept telling me that the baby wouldn’t be moving like that without a heartbeat. Just so comforting.

Other things that were amazing: There are apparently social workers at the hospital who only see pregnant women. She put in a referral for me to see one of them, so now I have a chance to talk to a professional about this all and process all the fears with him/her. I’ll call tomorrow and set up my first appointment. The midwife also said told me not to be a hero, if the depression gets really bad that it’s safe to go back on Zoloft. I feel okay right now but we’ll see what happens when my husband goes back to work and I’m still routine-less. Then she set up the referral for my anatomy scan to be with the Maternal Fetal Medicine (high risk) clinic instead of radiology. She didn’t say why but I’m pretty sure it’s because they have more experience dealing with extremely anxious pregnant woman during those scans. She asked about past physical or sexual abuse and when I briefly told her about my ex she told me not to minimize it, that it was abuse. That was important to hear. I also had to have a pap smear today and she kept reminding me that a little spotting after would be totally normal and okay, but luckily I didn’t even have any spotting. We talked about genetic testing and she told me I won’t hear anything until the second set of blood work is taken and not to focus on and stress about it in the meantime, which I would so do. Just a little nudge that there’s nothing I can do and it’s okay to let it go during that time.

Finally, they have this thing called “Centering” where you meet up for your appointments with a group of women all due during the same month. So you have some private time but it’s also a group conversation and classes about pregnancy and birth and stuff. And they just started having a group meet at the military base that’s closest to my house rather than this main hospital. I’d still be giving birth at the main hospital, but all these appointments (except the anatomy scan) are much closer to my house. I think it will be good for me to have other pregnant women to bond with, even if I’m a bit scared that they will all be young and fertile. And the midwife got me into a slot in the group by my house, so yay. That starts in like 3 weeks.

I can’t explain in words how validating it was to have someone just get how scared I am, without me even really saying so. I never thought that someone outside of the RE’s office would understand like that. She was a little miracle. It’s too bad I can’t request specific people when I go into labor and they are cutting the hours of the midwives in L&D. But that’s okay, just having her today was enough to make a huge difference. I am eternally grateful to the Universe not only for this pregnancy (oh so very grateful for that) but for the little things like this appointment. I feel so incredibly lucky, more than I could ever say.

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One Day At a Time

Yesterday we had our heartbeat ultrasound. I was terrified. I didn’t sleep hardly at all the night before. I woke up cranky and irrationally angry. My husband didn’t understand why I was so upset at first. He was so confident everything was going to be okay.

And it was. Blobby has a heartbeat, 160 bpm. We got to see and hear it. S/he’s measuring right along perfectly. I was 7w3d by last menstrual period and s/he measured 7w5d. The doctor was great and we didn’t have a room full of interns this time. The doc called hubby “dad” which made him light up. I’m so glad he was able to be at that appointment. And they gave us copies of a couple of the ultrasound photos to take home for the first time. I sent scans to my parents and my mother-in-law who were all thrilled to see them.

And I have graduated from the Acute Care Clinic to the regular OB. Next week I go in for the four hour hospital OB orientation. They are treating me like a regular pregnant woman now.

Tomorrow my husband has his foot surgery. I am pretty stressed about taking care of him during the recovery period. He will be home, on the couch pretty much, for a month. I’ll be doing everything for him. I’ve done it before but not while pregnant. My energy has been so low, I’m scared about having enough. I actually asked people on Facebook for help with meals, which I don’t normally do. But I couldn’t say it was because I’m pregnant so not surprisingly I have gotten very little response. But any help is greatly appreciated. And my mother-in-law is coming back out for a few days next weekend to help too.

My new big goal is to work on my fitness. Obviously I can’t go crazy but I need to be a bit more active. There is a small pond in our housing complex with a path around it. I have no idea how long the walk is but it’s a decent little walk. I figure if I make at least one loop around every day that will be really good for me. And when the weather is good and I feel up to it, two or three loops would be great. I have yet to break out the prenatal yoga DVD that I bought during optimistic times, but I have a feeling my MIL will be having me do some yoga when she’s here. I want a healthy pregnancy and I want to be healthy when this baby gets here. Now that I’m actually starting to believe this baby is really going to be here one day.

Blobby

I’m just going to get this out of the way from the start. I am six weeks pregnant. Actually six weeks + three days going by my last period.

I haven’t written about it here for a few reasons. The biggest being that we were waiting until we told our families. A couple family members know about the blog and it would be irresponsible and frankly cruel for them to find out here. I’ve also been stupid busy. I graduated this past weekend. My mother-in-law was in town staying with us and one of my aunts is in town staying with my parents. I have had very little down time to sit and write (or read, still catching up).

I have about a million feelings about this pregnancy. I actually ended up in the ER a couple days after the first positive test. I was having a lot of cramping and that morning I started spotting a little. The symptoms were so similar to the ectopic that I freaked out and went in to the ER because the RE clinic wasn’t returning my calls. But it was crazy early (I was something like 3w3d) and so the ER really couldn’t tell us much. The RE clinic, when I finally got them on the phone that night, said it was probably implantation.

I’ve had two ultrasounds now and we know there is a pregnancy in the uterus. The first doctor was still concerned about the possibility of a second pregnancy in the tubes, but the second doctor was not. However the second doctor was awful so her lack of concern wasn’t exactly comforting.

The main things I am feeling are: overjoyed, guilty, and terrified. They are all probably self-explanatory but I’ll break them down for you anyway.

Overjoyed. Duh. I’m pregnant. We know it’s in the uterus, not the tubes. At our ultrasound next week we should get to see/hear a heartbeat. Our family is, for the most part, really happy for us. My mother-in-law’s joy and optimism were contagious while she was here. My husband is so freaking thrilled he wants to tell way more people than I’m prepared to tell yet. He has christened the embryo “Blobby” after I tried to explain what the yolk sac looked like after the first ultrasound. We are so much further than we ever got last summer, it’s hard not to feel hopeful that this good luck will continue.

Guilty. I think most of the women in the infertility community who I know who have gotten pregnant have dealt with guilt for the pregnancy alone. I’m feeling extra guilt on top because this was relatively so easy for us. We just used Femara and did timed intercourse. I feel so incredibly lucky. I won’t even get into how lucky I am about the money part too. It’s so hard to see so many amazing, deserving women and men in the community who are having no luck at all. Every canceled cycle, failed treatment, or god-forbid loss breaks my heart. I’m at a loss for what to say to people. How do I say my heart is breaking for them and have it be sincere when I know that I have inside me right now what they want more than anything? People keep telling me not to feel guilty. And I get it (aside from the whole don’t tell me how to feel thing), but that doesn’t change anything. I know people are happy for me and wishing me good things as I have done with so many others. I just wish I could take whatever magical unicorn dust got me here and spread it around.

Terrified. Like I said, we are so much further along than we ever got a chance to be last summer. But it’s still early. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was telling my mother-in-law that one of the difficult things about this community is that I have heard so many stories of loss. It’s hard to feel confident in any pregnancy when I know how easily it can all be taken away. My hope increases every day but I really do have to take this thing one day at at time.

The other big issue has been the pregnancy side-effects (symptoms doesn’t seem right when I know for sure I’m pregnant). I have been having a really difficult time with “morning sickness” that has been more like all-day sickness. I haven’t actually vomited, thankfully, but I feel nauseous all day long. It’s exhausting. I had no idea it would be this hard. Which sounds naive and crazy, maybe. But damn. I’ll still take this over not being pregnant in a heartbeat. And people keep pointing out that it’s a good sign. I refuse to complain about it on Twitter because I know how hard that is to hear. So my husband bears the brunt of my pain and whining.

The internship I was hoping to do this summer isn’t going to work out in the way I had hoped because of the pregnancy but they are still trying to find ways for me to come into the studio and be around my fellow artists and such, so I greatly appreciate that. My husband is having surgery on his foot next week so I’ll be highly distracted by taking care of him for a while too.

In the meantime I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do about this blog. I want to keep blogging but it feels weird blogging under this name while pregnant and even weirder if I become a parent. So chances are I will start another blog in a few weeks where I will blog about pregnancy, birth, and parenting after infertility. I will absolutely not forget where I came from. Said blog will also likely be more personal, with names and photos. It will also probably be something I’ll share with friends and family, so less raw honesty. When I set it up I will let you all know so you can decide if you want to follow me there. I fully expect most of you won’t and that is totally okay. I get it. In the meantime here is my promise to you. When it comes to this blog I will never post: ultrasound photos, bump photos, pics of any sort of baby items, or lengthy complaints about side-effects. I’m also not going to post the whole weekly breakdown thing, because honestly, nobody really cares about that stuff. I will talk about the pregnancy. I probably won’t post very often. And I will absolutely keep reading and commenting and thinking of all of you.

Unicorn dust for everyone!

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