Week 12: Stretched Out

My husband and I went on vacation out of state last week and I tell you what, nothing like pregnancy to remind you of your physical limitations. Pre-pregnancy, our vacation days were crammed with activities but as we got closer, we limited ourselves to 2 activities a day. We walked a lot around the parks and other parts of the city but I had to take frequent breaks due to getting winded. The first day was frustrating because I didn’t realize how quickly I’d get tired, and neither did my husband. I had to tell him to slow down or that I needed a rest multiple times but by day 2 he was more aware of my physical needs. We had a great time and while we were away we announced my pregnancy on social media in time for Mothers Day. It was nice to finally let everyone else know.

I had to go back to the doctor the day we flew back because our baby would not cooperate for the nuchal test last week. Despite lots of prodding by the techs and making me move around the exam table like a fish, the baby wouldn’t turn far enough to get its neck measured.

Our child did not want to cooperate either this time.

It was still moving every which way and when we tried to get it to turn, it just flipped upside down and waved its little arms. After 20 long, annoying minutes, the baby turned and the tech got the measurement. We don’t know the official measurement yet, but it appears that the baby doesn’t have Down Syndrome based on what I could see on the screen. We were also able to see that baby’s face, which was weird because it sorta looked like a skull with a prominent nose. It has my husband’s nose for sure. We go back in 3 weeks to see what the sex is and people are already casting votes at work. So far, people think I’m having a girl.

Prior to our vacation, I spoke to my mom and she suggested that I buy more maternity clothes. I didn’t really feel like it and I’m trying to wait as long as I could to buy more.

However, in a span of a week, my jeans can’t even zip up. I tried wearing my belly band when I returned to work but I think it just moved the baby closer to my bladder and I had to pee what felt like every 15-20 minutes. Since that little experience, I’ve been wearing dresses to work but even my pantyhose fits weird. I’ve got a lot of shopping to do this week. I hate it when my mom is right.

Emotionally, I’m doing fine. I got pretty annoyed at work several times this week but they were all more than justified. Physically, back pain and cramps have kicked in again but I think it’s more due to my uterus stretching to accommodate the baby. This week it’s the size of a jalepeno!

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Week 11: Tiny Dancer

I had major anxiety about our upcoming ultrasound, to the point I had difficulty sleeping. I was convinced that I had miscarried and even thought of how to tell everyone. However, all fears disappeared this afternoon when I had my week 12 check. It was wild seeing how fast the baby has grown in 3 weeks. It looks more like a baby now and it was swinging its little arms around. I had to go in for the nuchal test, which measures the thickness of the back of the baby’s neck. Having a thick neck is a sign of Down Syndrome. Of course, our kid was uncooperative. Despite the tech pushing the belly wand around and even doing a transvaginal ultrasound, the baby wouldn’t get into a favorable position. The tech gave me orange juice to get baby more active but all it did was dance around and at one point was sitting up. A second tech was brought it but baby was doing its own thing. It’s definitely our child. I have to go back next week to get retested.

My mom gave me some money this past weekend to buy more maternity clothes, but I only bought a few things because I was worried about buying clothes I wouldn’t need. Looks like I’ll need them now.

Running Food Aversion List:

  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • all pork
  • ginger candy
  • bell pepper
  • strawberries

Cravings List:

  • Cake
  • Cheddar and sour cream chips
  • Watermelon (with sugar sprinkled on top)
  • Thai food

Week 10: Bump!

My bump started reveal itself over the weekend. My husband and I visited his aunt and uncle at their beach house and we went on a long walk on the beach after lunch. The weather was perfect and DH and I took a photo together. I posted the photo online but it was until after the fact that I realized there was a definite defined roundness to my belly. We posed facing away from the sun so I’m hoping that bump is obscured by our shadows. I wore a dress to work on Monday and the bump was unintentionally noticeable. I don’t really care at this point whether coworkers I haven’t explicitly told figure out that I’m pregnant because it’s becoming increasingly obvious. I had been using the hair tie technique (looping a hair tie around the button of my work pants and through the button hole) but that’s becoming less effective.

Speaking of work, I forget if I mentioned this before but there have been a lot of changes from new management and increased workloads, which has been stressful. Honestly, if I wasn’t pregnant I’d be looking for another job right now. Hopefully I can stick it out for the next 6 months.

As for symptoms, baby brain has definitely been in effect lately. This morning, while prepping my lunch for the next 2 days, I put one portion in my lunch bag and put the other portion away. However, when I was getting ready to leave, my husband asked why my lunch was in the sink. I had no idea what he was talking about but he said I had put the other lunch portion in the sink instead of the refrigerator. Whoops. Besides that, cramps have been minimal but I had a frightening nosebleed late last week before work. **not for the squeamish -you’ve been warned** I remembered that my blood volume is increasing but holy hell all I did was blow my nose and it was like a damn faucet. I freaked out because it wasn’t stopping and I had less than 30 minutes before I had to leave for work. After a quick search online, I learned that I had to pinch my nose and let it drip. Finally, 20 minutes and a tossed tupperware container later, I was good to go. **gross stuff over**

Running Food Aversion List:

  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • all pork
  • ginger candy
  • bell pepper
  • strawberries

Cravings List:

  • Cake
  • Cheddar and sour cream chips

Week 9: Holy Hormones

Emotions are exhausting.

Exhibit A:

I’ve been feeling crankier than usual over the last week but I’ve been mostly able to keep myself in check. Friday night though, my emotions got the best of me. We were watching a Disney movie (one I’ve seen multiple times) but I cried at the end. I never cry during movies.  Through tears, I told my husband I wasn’t even sad. I had no idea why I was crying. This lasted about 5-10 minutes and when I finally stopped I wanted ice cream. Unfortunately, nothing was open at that hour.

Exhibit B:

Saturday morning I had to take my car in for routine maintenance. I had been having an issue with my headlights and when the service guy began explaining the issue, his voice turned into the teacher’s voice from Peanuts. I was aggravated and just wanted to know if it needed to be fixed or not. After a roundabout explanation, my headlights didn’t need to be fixed. I thanked the service guy but internally I was ready to scream at him for wasting my time. I fully recognize that how I felt did not match the situation but pregnancy does fun things to your behavior.

Exhibit C:

DH accompanied me to the repair shop with his car so we could do some shopping while my car was being serviced. I bought my first maternity bras and they are amazing! At 9 weeks I’ve gone up a full cup size. Band size hasn’t changed yet. I also bought maternity shorts, more sports bras for sleeping, and a super comfy maternity dress. I got frustrated trying to find a tankini top/one piece swimsuit that fits my boobs since we’re going to DH’s family’s beach house next weekend. We went to one of the big box stores and I was so annoyed that they didn’t have swimsuits sized by cup and bands that I told DH we had to move on to the next section. Later in the day we went to a plus size store and found a cute one-piece, but they were asking $200. No thanks.

Exhibit D:

We had a wedding to go Saturday afternoon and that’s when I had a full on meltdown. I was all set to wear one of my dresses but it did not fit as well as I thought. 5 dresses, more tears, and hugs for my husband later, I finally was ready to go. I felt like shit and was cranky through the ceremony, which was a full mass. DH has been a rock star with dealing with my mood and encouraged me to wait in the car at the reception until I felt ready to get out and grab some food. At that moment I just wanted to go home but got out of the car after about 5 minutes. I ate this weird spinach pastry thing since that was pretty much all I could eat. At my request we stood away from the rest of the guests since we only knew the couple getting married, but I snapped out of it and asked DH to start chatting up the couple that sat in front of us during the ceremony (to call my husband gregarious is an understatement). They were super nice and I felt more relaxed. The actual reception felt more like an endurance test. I began feeling tired soon after we were seated at our table and was yawning throughout the night. Normally you can’t keep me off the dance floor but I had the stamina for 2 dances. All told, we were at the wedding for about 6 hours and I passed out once we got home.

…..

Sunday we met up with friends and we wound up canceling plans with another set of plans later in the afternoon. I was still feeling tired from the day before and needed to rest up. I’m getting a little concerned about my stamina when we go on our trip in a few weeks but hopefully my energy level will be back to normal by then.

Appetite wise, I was struggling until Monday. I weighed myself Sunday morning and I was 5 pounds lighter than at pre-pregnancy. Clearly eating remains a challenge. At Sunday’s brunch, I started feeling nauseous and had a hard time eating the grouper I had ordered. I honestly wanted to take 2 bites and call it good but I kept telling myself that it’s for the baby. I ate the majority of my fish along with half of the sides and crashed again when we got home. Monday and especially Tuesday, my appetite came back with a vengeance. Weirdly enough, I haven’t gained any weight yet.

Physically, I’ve been doing okay. Cramps and back pain have started up again, but I wonder if it’s from our kid bouncing around. Apparently it’s the size of a kumquat and has fully formed fingers and toes. I told my director today about the baby’s development and I’m amused by how excited he is. He was also kind enough to let us have his son’s old baby items. My boobs feel super heavy now and it feels like my lower abdomen is getting rounder. I hope I start showing soon.

Other stuff: We are officially moving this summer to a bigger place. I can’t wait since we already have the nursery planned out. We’re keeping the design mostly under wraps but as for furniture, we’ll have the crib, a wooden rocking chair, and a sleeper sofa when my parents come to visit.

Running Food Aversion List:

  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • all pork (including bacon)
  • ginger candy
  • bell pepper
  • strawberries

Cravings List:

  • Cake

Week 8: The Big Visit

I was on a pretty good streak for a while. My energy levels more consistently rose and I even went to the gym for the first time in quite a while on Monday. I walked for 30 minutes and it was nice to be physically active again. However, nausea has returned. Breakfast has been tough because I’ve been too nauseous to eat, or can only manage a bowl of cereal. I felt bad about my poor husband hearing me gag so I’ve been drinking Boost to get me through the morning.

Eating overall has been a bit of a challenge unless it’s junk food, like pizza. I’ve been eating a lot of carbs lately but that’s pretty much all I can tolerate right now. Meat has been rough but I’m fine with it as long as it’s buried in something else, like nachos. To help get my protein in, I’ll start eating more quinoa cooked in chicken stock. I don’t think I’ve ever been this picky about food in my life and I hope this resolves itself soon. I made some damn good breakfast burritos and I want to enjoy them again.

Physically, things are changing. My boobs feel like boulders in my bra so I’ll be buying maternity bras this weekend. I can also no longer wear a shirt while braless without incredible discomfort so I’m hoping I can find a cotton bra to sleep in (suggestions welcome!). My mom recently visited and she said she noticed that my boobs have gotten bigger, and I’ve developed a glow. Cramps and back pain has been mostly minimal.

Yesterday, my husband and I had our big OB visit. This visit, where the team gets baseline medical info, lasted over 3 hours. I had to do some quick paperwork upon arrival then immediately went in for the ultrasound. It was trippy seeing the baby move! Its little stubby arms and legs were wiggling around and of course our kid would be upside down. We confirmed that it’s a single baby in there. It’s about the size of a grape and is doing well. Once that was done we had to wait a little bit before seeing my doctor. He did a physical exam, which included a pap smear. It was the first time my husband saw one performed so he was wincing along with me. My doctor also checked my uterus, which I wish he had given more warning before shoving his fingers up my vagina. Apparently my uterus has doubled in size though. Following the physical, we met with someone for financial counseling and right after that a nurse to discuss our families’ medical histories. Finally, I had to get labs drawn. I was exhausted after the visit but it was good to get a sense of what would be happening over the next 30 or so weeks. I’m also cleared to travel next month, which we were very relieved about. My parents graciously upgraded our plane tickets to first class (!) since they figure this will be my and my husband’s last trip together for a while.

I told my closer coworkers today about my pregnancy since they mostly had it figured out. They’re all excited but I’m not quite ready to tell the rest of the office yet. We’ve started telling more friends as well. Frankly it’s a relief to tell others because it’s been difficult dodging people and making up excuses.

Running Food Aversion List:

  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • all pork (including bacon)
  • ginger candy
  • bell pepper
  • strawberries

Week 7: Holy Heartburn

Last Wednesday, when I turned 7 weeks, was the perfect day. Full of energy, feeling good, finally getting shit done.

Thursday, I had the worst heartburn in my life. Lunch was catered at work, which consisted of salads and sandwiches. I couldn’t have the sandwiches because deli meat (unless the meat is steamed/cooked) is off limits, so I got a scoop of salad. I had to toss half the stuff in my salad because pork, tomatoes, and avocado are on my no-go list. There were few options for dressings so I had a balsamic vinaigrette. Mistake #1. I only got a little bit because the bloat was taking over again and I didn’t have much of an appetite. Later in the day I had my packed lunch, which was pasta with tomato sauce. Mistake #2. About an hour later, my throat was on fire and I got real uncomfortable. I couldn’t eat anything else and wound up vomiting a short time later. It was incredibly painful and on top of that a friend was on her way over. Thankfully I was fine for the rest of the day and was very mindful of what I ate over the next few days. I can take Zantac so that’s on hand if needed.

I wore dresses and skirts most of last week because the bloating has been out of control. I found some relief when my husband and I went out to buy maternity work pants.

OMGTHEYARESOCOMFORTABLEIWANTTOWEARTHEMALLTHETIME.

It was so nice to breathe comfortably and they were pretty affordable. The dressing room contained a 7-month pregnancy belly so I put it on to see what I’d look like. Absolutely surreal. And it was good to know that the shirt I was wearing would still fit. I took a photo and sent it to my mom, with the warning that I had the fake belly on. She apparently showed my dad the photo without context and he thought I was having multiples.

Anyway, the store we went to offered a bunch of deals if you signed up for their mailing list, including magazines and a goodie bag of coupons. That was the highlight of our shopping trip because I became very tired after 30 minutes of walking around, and we left after getting my clothes. (Pro tip: you can McGyver your pants by looping a hair tie between the button/clasp hole and the button/clasp. Works great if you are wearing a patterned shirt and aren’t too far along).

The fatigue has ramped up again, making doing pretty much anything a challenge. I was on a no-nap streak until this weekend. Take Sunday. I had 8.5 hours of sleep but was exhausted after going grocery shopping. I took a nap, then woke up in time to meet up with friends Kim and Cory for a double-date. Kim is 11 weeks so we spent the bulk of our conversation talking about apps and symptoms and everything baby. We hung out for just over an hour, then I promptly took another nap when we got home. Slept fine later that night.

Work has been tough due to the fatigue so I caved and started drinking black tea. I limit myself to 2 cups, which comes out to about 120 mg of caffeine (I believe the recommended daily max is 200mg). That’s helped a little bit but timing is everything. On Monday, I had my last cup around 2pm and couldn’t sleep that night. I’m eager to get through this trimester because I want to get back to having more of an active routine. I’m really going to try to get back to the gym this week so I need to figure out how to muster up energy at the end of the day.

Regarding body changes, my husband noticed that my belly button is starting to poke out a little. I told him that it was probably mostly the bloat going on. However, when I was on the phone with my mom I rubbed my belly and felt that my lower abdomen was kind of hard. We were both excited and I think I’m finally embracing that I’ll be a mom before the end of the year.

Running Food Aversion List:

  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • all pork (including bacon 😦 )
  • ginger candy
  • bell pepper (again, 😦 )

Week 6: The Skies Have Parted

What a difference a week makes.

I still felt like crap yesterday but had to get back to work. I was super nauseous the whole work day and finally vomited toward the end. I wore my loosest dress pants but my bloating has been unreal. Due to the bloat and nausea, I was able to keep down just 4 pretzel pieces and a bowl of cereal all day.

Today marks my 7th week and I can’t believe how different I already feel. Last night I didn’t have any pain and only woke up once. Today I’ve kept all my food down and I’m excited to (slowly) reintroduce meat and spices back into my diet. My energy is back too and it’s the first time in 2 weeks I didn’t take a 1-2 hour nap right after work. I thought about working later, and going to the gym in the first time in a month, but I decided against both as to not over-exert myself.

I also found out today that a coworker/friend is also pregnant. She struggled with fertility about as long as we have and coincidentally we were going to the same specialist. I ran into her at work today and pulled her aside to tell her that I was pregnant. Lo and behold, we’re due about a month apart! Our obstetricians are at the same clinic as well. How crazy is that?

I think now that my body has adjusted better to the hormone fluctuations I’m feeling more excited about being pregnant.

Surprise!

I’ve been pretty absent from my blog because quite a bit has happened.

About 3 weeks ago, I came home from work and took a pregnancy test on a whim. I was 3 days late but didn’t think much of it since I’ve been over a week late before. I checked the test after 5 minutes.

Two lines.

…I did several double-takes between looking at the test and looking at the instructions. 2 lines = positive. I had bought cheapie pregnancy tests online so I ran to the store to get a digital test. When I got back home, I tested again.

Positive.

I couldn’t believe it. My husband was on his way home from work at this point and I was in such shock that I couldn’t think straight. I paced for a good 20 minutes waiting for him to get home and tried to figure out how to tell him. His birthday was in 2 weeks but there was no way I could wait that long.

He came home and I told him to go look in the bathroom. He got annoyed because he thought my in-law’s cat (we’re taking care of it for the time being) had shit on our bathroom rug again. I told him to just go look and it took him a full minute to see the test on the bathroom counter (my husband isn’t the most observant). He couldn’t believe it either. I called my doctor’s office that day and scheduled a blood test for the next day.

My results came back coincidentally the day after my dad’s birthday and confirmed the pregnancy. I was already 4 weeks along. My husband and I decided to tell my parents that night. We face-timed my parents and sang my dad Happy Birthday, but replaced “dad” with “grandpa.” It took him a minute but mom caught on quick. We told my brother and his fiancee the next day. Here’s how that exchange went:

My brother: So what did you do for St. Patrick’s Day?

Me: Nothing.

My brother: What? Don’t you guys usually go out and drink beer?

Me: Yeah, but I can’t have beer any more. It’s bad for the baby.

My brother: ….wait, what?

(His fiancee is screaming in the background).

I told my other 2 siblings shortly thereafter, in addition to my close friend who has also been having difficulty conceiving and is now 6 months pregnant. We also told my husband’s parents later in the week when we stopped by their house.

In the meantime, I had 2 more blood work appointments after the initial one to ensure my hcg levels were rising appropriately. Both came back fine and I scheduled my first ultrasound for 2 weeks later.

…..

It took a few days for it to start sinking in that I’m pregnant. Our odds of conceiving naturally were only 3%. We tried to figure out how I got pregnant (besides the obvious) since I wasn’t even taking prenatals. My husband has been taking a bunch of supplements which may have contributed. Who knows. I’m almost 7 weeks now.

As far as symptoms go, they started soon after I had the confirmed blood test. First was a lot of back pain, cramping, and fatigue. I have to cut back on caffeine, which is doable but sucks. Emotions were all over the map but I could mostly keep them in check. Just after I hit 5 weeks, the food aversions and hypersensitivity to smell kicked in. Currently on my aversion list: ham. Unfortunately I had baked a ham but 2 days later the smell of it made me nauseous. The smells at work are awful too so I started putting scented lotion right under my nose.

At week 5, I already hit a challenge with keeping this from friends. One of our friends “Jim” invited us out for drinks. We changed it to dinner (so I could partake) and of course Jim ordered a bottle of wine for the table. I said I had a headache and didn’t feel like drinking. Typically I can only take Jim in small doses, especially now that my patience is a lot thinner since I can’t drink.  I usually have 1-2 drinks whenever we hang out with Jim (which isn’t often) because boundaries are not in his vocabulary and to help keep my attitude in check, so it was quite difficult trying to get through the night. I survived though.

Week 6 was also hard because that was the week of my husband’s birthday. We planned a dinner with friends and strategized on how to keep the baby under wraps. We decided on saying that I can’t drink due to taking a new allergy med. Morning sickness also randomly kicked in that week. I didn’t sleep well the weekend prior due to the back pain, but the vomiting made things so much worse.  To help combat the nausea, I spread out my meal times so that I was eating about every 3 hours. It’s been helpful so far. However, the end of the week was rough. I was vomiting frequently then got bad diarrhea (the joys of pregnancy). On top of that, I wasn’t sleeping more than 2-3 hours at a time due to pain/nausea. I called my doctor on Friday and his nurse recommended that I take B6 for the nausea and Unisom at night so I could sleep better. For the most part, they were helpful but I still woke up even when on the Unisom. If you haven’t taken it before and woken up, it feels like you’re paralyzed when you try to walk.

Anyway, we missed Easter with family because I wound up in the Emergency Room. Sunday morning I woke up feeling terrible; I had no appetite and would alternate between chills and hot flashes. I took my temperature and I was running a low grade fever. We went to urgent care first and the doctor sent me to the Emergency Room out of concern for the baby. Fortunately the wait at the ER was short and I had a full work up. I also asked for an ultrasound to ensure I wasn’t having an ectopic pregnancy. I got to see the baby (it’s about the size of a peanut!) and hear its heartbeat. Everything is fine with it though. After 5 hours total in the ER, the doctor wasn’t sure about why I had a fever but said the diarrhea may have been from greasy food I ate on Saturday. I was also very dehydrated so I had to get fluids. Per doctor’s orders, I have today off from work for rest. Here’s hoping that things get better soon.

The Co$t of Infertility

My husband and I are filing our taxes this week. I went through all the receipts for doctor’s visits and prescriptions and it was a little surprising to see how many receipts we had, considering prior to starting fertility treatment I went to the doctor once or twice a year. This may be the first year we can write off medical expenses. I didn’t total everything up, but strictly out of my pocket (not including what my husband paid directly or what we used our health savings account on) I paid almost $1,500 on fertility-related treatments. Specifically, here is what we paid for just last year (what wasn’t covered by insurance):

-Hysterosalpingogram

-Interuterine Inseminations (4 times)

-Clomid (10 prescriptions)

-HCG trigger shot (4 times)

-Doctor visits

-Lab tests, including genetic tests and semen analyses

It’s shocking how much fertility treatments costs and makes a lot of sense that some companies offer loans specifically for fertility treatment. It’s also making us reconsider how much longer we want to pursue treatment due to the expenses. I’m not looking forward to seeing what both my husband and our HSA covered. If I had to hazard a guess though, I’d say it’s double what I spent.

Missed Opportunity?

I recently checked my fertility app and realized that due to illness and work craziness, we completely missed my fertility window. I told my husband and initially I felt disappointed, but that lasted all of 30 seconds. I felt a little guilt though because my husband has been taking a slew of vitamins to help increase our odds of conceiving. Meanwhile, my prenatal vitamin bottle has dust on it. I’ve become apathetic about getting pregnant, especially now that we have other things to spend our time (and money) on.

I had some insight into this apathy when we recently went to a theme park where we were surrounded by hundreds of kids. I reveled in the fact that it would be the cheapest we’ll ever go to the theme park, plus we were able to choose whatever rides we wanted to get on without a child screaming their objections. It was also nice to get ahead on some rides because it was just the 2 of us.

It’s been exactly 3 years since my husband and I started trying to conceive and I think this is the first time I’ve felt true peace about it. We’re taking more time to ourselves instead of overscheduling and it feels like the pressure to conceive is off. I’m both astonished and proud of my attitude because it took such a long time to reach this point.

Maybe apathy is the wrong word. I feel content.