24 week update

How far along? 24 weeks and 2 days

How big is baby? 8.5 inches long, about the size of an ear of corn

Total weight gain/loss? Honestly, I stopped weighing myself. At first I weighed myself because I was worried about my constant throwing up and lack of weight gain. But now I feel myself getting bigger, and I feel healthy, so the number isn’t important.

Maternity clothes? I took advantage of sales and did a big haul over the Christmas holiday. My shirts no longer covered my belly!

Sleep? For Christmas my husband bought me the snoogle pillow. I guess he was also tired from my constant tossing and turning at night. All I have to say is that it’s amazing and my sleep has definitely improved! I may have cried the first time I used it because I felt so incredibly comfortable.

Best moment this month? My ten day break from work was wonderful. I haven’t had a break since our IUI right before the school year started so it felt good to just relax for a few days and take it all in. We also made huge progress on the nursery (which I will write an update about soon!).

Symptoms? I experienced my first bout of round ligament pain. Ouch! I almost called my doctor because I thought I gave myself an ulcer from throwing up so much! My heartburn hasn’t been so bad because my husband also bought me sea bands for Christmas. It was just a practical Christmas this year in our house! It’s the best $10 investment you can make if you have constant nausea and heartburn.

Food cravings? Cereal. Trader Joe’s Strawberry Yogurt O’s to be exact. But I’ll suffice with some Special K fruit and yogurt.

Food aversions? Tomatoes. Anything spicy, vinegary, salty, fried, or really sweet. Basically anything tasty.

Gender? It’s a surprise 🙂

Labor signs? No

Belly button in or out? Innie, but quickly disappearing.

What I miss? I missed champagne on New Year’s but juice in a wine glass did the trick.

What I’m looking forward to? Maternity leave from work! hahaha. I have a long three months before I get there.

Milestones? Almost to the third trimester

Bump? Definitely bigger! I finally look pregnant.

16dpiui beta

459!

I had a mild panic attack this morning where I imagined the nurse telling me my numbers were dropping and the worst would happen. But I’m very happy with our number.

I’ll go for one more beta check on Monday and then our first ultrasound next Thursday. Appointments are becoming a little tricky because next week is my first week back at school. I’m hoping my new principal is accommodating and won’t mind if I take a late lunch to go to my doctor’s office.

Every phone call with positive results is a little less stress taken off my shoulders. That anxiety won’t disappear until I’m holding our baby in my arms.

Beta #1

14dpiui beta number was 116!

I’ll go back in Thursday for my second check.  

I’ve been a nervous wreck since we found out. We finally told our families last night. I just needed a few days to let it sink in. Having miscarried before, I’m terrified of everything! I don’t want to get my hopes up or everyone around us.

So far I’ve been having some mild cramping and a feelings of pressure. They are different than period cramps so I’m trying not to worry. I’ve also noticed a dull ache on my left side which I’m hoping is a residual cyst instead of all the terrifying alternatives. 

Besides that, I’ve been more tired (because I’m not sleeping well at night!), really thirsty, and the girls are pretty tender. 

As the nurse told me today, just relax, come back Thursday, and we’ll go from there. 

10dpiui BFP

I wrote this post yesterday. It took me a full day for it to sink in and start to believe I’m pregnant!

This afternoon something told me to take a test. A gut feeling. I’m 10 days past my first IUI. I’ve been more tired than usual. I’ve noticed some changes with the girls. And I’m extremely thirsty! (which was the biggest thing I noticed with my first pregnancy) 

So I used one of my cheapie tests, set it on the bathroom counter, and walked away. I actually watched an entire lifetime movie before remembering I peed on a stick! I figured it was another negative to toss in the trash.

When I went upstairs to check it, I was shocked to see a faint second line! So I peed on another. And another. And they all had faint second lines. Eeeeeekk! 

My husband was flying in NY so I decided I wanted to surprise him when he got home. Earlier in the day I went to a Scholastic warehouse sale to stock up on books for my classroom. I decided to go to Barmes and Noble and pick up some pregnancy books. I put the expectant father book in my bag of classroom books.

As it turns out, this was the night my husband decided to dink around at the airport for an additional hour. “Be home by 9” turned into “maybe by 10.” The anticipation was killing me!! 

Finally on his way home he called me. Within minutes he asked if we should make a target run for a test. I shut him down. Then he started talking about having a beer, which he gave up this past month to help with the TTC process. I told him no and tried to change the subject. I wanted to just scream at him to get home but I had to laugh it off and play cool.

When he finally got home I told him about my day and that I found some books for my classroom. On cue, he asked if I found any for him. I told him as a matter of fact I did! He was excited at the thought of an airplane book. 

He opened the bag and started rummaging through. Finally he pulled out the expectant father book. He said, “Oh.” Then it clicked. “Oooohhhhhhhhh!!!!” I put the positive test inside the cover. He studied it and said, “there’s a second line! Does that mean…?” And we hugged. And cried. I wish I could live in this moment forever. 

We are cautiously optimistic because of the outcome of our previous pregnancy. But no matter what, I’m going to enjoy every single day as it comes. That’s all I can do. 

I’m waiting on pins and needles until Monday and will schedule my first beta check. I’m hoping this is it for us… I’ll just take it one day at a time. 

Avoidance 

My husband very kindly warned me that we got a baby shower invite in the mail today. 

I wrote a few months ago how our friends told us about their pregnancy. It was a nice gesture telling us before announcing publicly, but still really hard to hear in person. Cue the cheesy fake smile. 

Honestly, we’ve been avoiding them since their announcement. I’m just not in a place to hear about all the joys of pregnancy and parenthood. Nevertheless, we’re still invitedto a  backyard baby-q to celebrate at the end of this month. 

Ideally it would have been nice to get a text heads up about the invitation. And it would have been ever better with an understanding that we may not want to attend in light of what we’re currently going through. 

But that’s in an ideal world where people understand the emotional nightmare of infertility. Not our reality right now. 

So now I feel stuck. The last baby shower I attended was pretty awkward. I held it together but I just felt so out of place. And I told myself that I wouldn’t make myself attend another one. 

I was recently having a conversation with my mom about our IUI. I told her I don’t like to think it worked because it makes it harder when things don’t work out for us. She started to chastise me about negative thinking but I interrupted her saying, “It’s my body and my experience. I can feel however the hell I want to!” And I’ve been really embracing that lately. 

I decided I don’t want to go. I can feel and act however the hell I want to right now! And I feel like I need to protect myself. 

How do you get out of baby related events? Half of me wants to educate our friends on why we won’t be attending (even though they know our circumstances right now). The other half just says to politely decline and send my gift. 

2dpiui

2 days down, 12 more to go…

The day after my first IUI I felt some major cramping and discomfort. Usually on medicated cycles I feel some pressure and discomfort around ovulation, but this month was definitely more intense. It could have been the IUI procedure or the fact that I had three mature follicles and there was just more going on down there!

I also was extremely bloated 1dpiui to the point where I immediately changed out of jeans into yoga pants when I got home. I had a little bit of spotting, which my doctor said is normal after the IUI. I had to keep reminding myself that everything I’m feeling is normal and I’m OK. I asked my husband to pick up some coconut water on his way home and I started chugging liquids. I feel considerably better today and the bloat is starting to subside.

Physically I’ve been taking it easy the past two days but emotionally, I’m a disaster. I know I should be excited or hopeful or optimistic, but in reality I’m terrified. We have so many people rooting for us right now. We had fantastic odds going into the IUI. But I still won’t let myself believe that this might work.

I’m scared.

I think I’m just trying to protect my very vulnerable self in this torturous process of what if’s and maybes. Our families and friends know we did an IUI this cycle and know that we have unexplained infertility, meaning there’s no reason why it won’t work for us. So if it doesn’t work, like every cycle for the past 2.5 years, I feel like people look at us and judge. Judge me for doing something (or not doing something) to compromise a possible pregnancy. Judge me as not healthy enough. Or good enough. Or committed enough. Or woman enough. Or anything!

I know I’m just being really hard on myself right now. And most people in our lives love us unconditionally and don’t judge us or think negative thoughts. The TWW anxiety creeps into my brain and causes havoc!

IUI #1

We did our first IUI today! 

I got up super early this morning and went in for additional bloodwork. Luckily, I had the boss plebotomist and didn’t have any problems with the blood draw. She frowned when she saw my bruised arms from yesterday’s fiasco. 

After the bloodwork, I went back home to wait on the phone call. Two hours later one of the nurses called me and said we could go ahead and do it today! 

First I dropped my husband off to do his part. I’m so thankful he was in town today and we didn’t have to use our frozen stash. I definitely needed him today. I was a nervous wreck!

After his part we went out to lunch. I had to fill my bladder so I mostly just drank iced tea. I was too nervous to eat! We went back into the office an hour later and were prepped for the IUI.

According to my ultrasound yesterday, I had three mature follicles. The nurse practitioner came in with my husband’s sample. He had 53 million post wash. Aghhhh the possibility of multiples is very real! 

 

lucky socks
 
First she inserted the speculum (sans lubricant). Then she cleaned my cervix and inserted the catheter. The only part that felt uncomfortable was putting in the speculum and only because I had a very full bladder. Once everything was in place she injected the sperm and it was done! The entire process was 10 minutes. 

I laid on the table for another twenty minutes and then we went home. We are cautiously optimistic. I want to believe everything is lined up for it to finally work this month. My husband is excited too. He was trying to calculate a possible due date if it works. 

 

goofiest people at the clinic
 
I also visited my acupuncturist this afternoon. She has a special post IUI protocol where she put needles in my ear! Bizarre but it didn’t really hurt. She did additional points on my hands and legs which really bothered me today. The entire time the needles were in I felt my muscles twitching. 

Overall, I feel good. I have some dull cramps and feel a little sore. I’m definitely bloated and put on yoga pants as soon as I got home. I’m going to try to not test until Monday, August 17th. 

Now we wait and I’ll try not to lose my mind!!! 

Human pin cushion 

The time I had the new plebotomist…

  
It’s so reassuring when she asks the other woman techniques for putting the needle in. 

And did I mention they were out of the small gauge needles? I swear they used a needle for the 6 foot pro wrestler dude. I definitely yelped when she had the needles in! 

But hubby took me out for breakfast afterwards. He knows the way to my heart. 

  

Update: The nurse just called me back. I have 3 mature follicles this cycle! I’m going back in tomorrow for more bloodwork (fun!) and hopefully doing our first insemination before lunch! 

Fertility acupuncture

I wrote a few months ago about my first experience with acupuncture. I had a great groupon deal and overall I really enjoyed the experience.

Since then, I’ve had to find a new acupuncturist that’s closer to home along my commute. I had my first appointment with her yesterday and it was amazing!

I started by filling out a bunch of paperwork. There was a three page checklist of a variety of symptoms, some of them being really strange things. For example, cold toes, sweats easily, feelings of dread, etc. We sat in her office and went over all of my health background. I told her how long we’ve been trying to get pregnant, our miscarriage, medicated cycles, and now moving on to IUIs.

She asked a lot of strange questions about my cycle. At first I was caught off guard, but then I felt like it was important to know. Even my RE hadn’t asked about this stuff before! After going over all of the health information she took my pulse. I had to rest my hands on a pillow and she gently pressed on my wrists at different angles and pressures. Then came the fun part – the tongue!

As part of the Eastern Medicine tradition she examined my tongue. Initially I just stuck it out of my mouth like a child. She instructed me to open my mouth wide and stick the whole thing out! Then…. she drew a picture of my tongue! Next to it she wrote RED underlined three times. I guess I have a really red tongue… As soon as I got in the car to go home I pulled down the mirror to look at my tongue!

After all of this she finally started to piece things together. She said she felt like my energy was stagnant. I’m putting all of this energy in, but it’s stuck. And I’m stuck. When she said this I almost teared up. The day before I was just talking to my husband and how I feel stuck in this horrible process and all I want to do is move forward with my life. She said she could tell that emotions are playing a large part in my overall health and right now I’m not balanced. So we’re going to work on supporting the IUI process through acupuncture and more importantly, stress relief.

I know most of us hate hearing about not stressing out about this process. Because how can we not?! But when she was talking about stress with me, she wasn’t saying, “just relax, it will happen.” She was reminding me that I’m a whole person, not just a woman going through fertility treatments. I need to be conscious of my whole body and take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I feel like I have another person on my team now. She even circled on her personal calendar when I might ovulate and do the IUI so she could help keep track too. I feel understood and supported.

The rest of the appointment went smoothly. She inserted needles into various calming points to help me relax. Then she put a few in my stomach and over my ovaries since I’m currently taking letrozole to help stimulate egg production. I relaxed with the needles in for twenty minutes with aromatherapy and felt the weight of the world melting from my body. I really can’t express how wonderful acupuncture feels.

So I went ahead a set up another appointment next week, hopefully a day or so before the IUI. She mentioned that I should try to come in the same day at the IUI, but reminded me to not stress about it if it doesn’t work out! Ha! She already knows me too well!

If you are ever considering acupuncture, I say go ahead and try it! Even if it doesn’t help the physical symptoms it will definitely help with the emotional ones. I really look forward to my appointments as a piece of time each week to take care of myself.

BFN

I’m glad I buy the cheap pregnancy tests off Amazon. At least I didn’t spend more than $2 to test and then start my period only three hours later…

Oh well.

Another cycle, here we go….