Week 19: This is us

19wks

Yesterday I finally started to feel like this family of three thing could actually stick.

We had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound / anatomy scan and got to see the Little Wookiee in all the glory. A few pregnant or new mom friends had told me about how incredible this ultrasound would be, and I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t know most of what I was looking at, but seeing sections of LW’s brain, blood flow into the umbilical cord… it is remarkable the detail made possible by technology.

Watching LW flip around, albeit being pretty uncooperative to the tech, I was smitten. Grown from the 5BB embaby into this real thing. Squirming around at pressure of the ultrasound wand.

It was a little mind-blowing, though, to watch the flipping on the screen — and know that movement in happening inside of me — and not be able to feel it yet. I think I’ve felt LW once or twice to date — just a brief twinge like some of the books describe — but nothing more definitive yet. Seeing it happen was pretty crazy.

We got a great report on LW’s growth, thankfully. I’d started to get a little more comfortable, and a little less anxious, when my belly started to pop about a week and a half ago. I was ready to pick out the nursery paint. I was spending more than half my time in maternity clothes. But not knowing what was really happening in there was still intimidating. I felt like I was standing on the line of a safe zone to just peer over it, but I wouldn’t step. It was unknown territory.

My husband and I had a conversation just this past weekend about expanding the bubble of people who know we’re expecting. We haven’t been keeping it quiet necessarily, but we weren’t eagerly awaiting a magic date to post it to Facebook either (I kind of have my own internal issues about why and how people share things on Facebook anyway, not to take away from anyone who does choose to make that sort of announcement. I’m just on the fence about it). When pressed by family about such an announcement I’d said, “just let us get through the anatomy scan first.” To me, it felt like a necessary step. Another box to check. A little bit closer to viability. To becoming a family of three.

My husband saw the scan as a formality. Another box, sure, but another chance to see LW. Because things are okay. Everything is okay now, he’d say.

I didn’t disagree, really. In my gut, anyway. But I needed the reassurance of a doctor saying, “it’s all good.” When I heard that, I mentally checked the box and felt better.

(It’s worth noting here that when the doctor came into the room, he didn’t immediately put me at ease. He opened with “As you know, PGS testing isn’t foolproof…” My eyes widened and panic rose. He’d said several more sentences before he registered my reaction and knew to say, “I really should have led with everything looks great…” Sweet jesus. He was a lovely doctor, though.)

Last night, following the ultrasound, my husband checked with me before expanding the bubble. I said okay. It felt like a big deal for me. I’m getting there. To a see a family of three. Us.

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Week 16: I didn’t think I’d be here

One trimester down. Today I’m 16 weeks and 2 days.

Every passing week the idea of the baby becomes more real. I let go of a little bit more of the anxiety. That feels good. I still — absolutely — get stuck in my head, where it can be a dark place. I’m trying harder to talk through those moments, rather than keeping the fears to myself. In the better moments, I’m relaxing and letting myself feel excited about the life I’m growing.

Little Wookiee’s checkups have all gone well, but not without stress. At my 13 week appointment my midwife wasn’t able to find the heartbeat on the fetal doppler and I spent a few terrifying minutes thinking it was all over. She assured us that at week 13 it can still be difficult to pick up the heartbeat with the fetal doppler. The midwife was so understanding and very quickly found us a room with an ultrasound machine. Within seconds, we thankfully saw Little Wookiee wiggling around. We could breathe again.

Other than a nasty cold, the second trimester so far has been wonderfully uneventful, as advertised. I’m still tired, but overall feeling quite good. So far, I’m a fan.

Heartbeat

On Friday, for the first time in the last five and a half harrowing years of infertility, I saw and heard the beating heart of my growing child. No matter the outcome of the next 33 weeks, that swish and flicker is cemented on my own heart.

The whole of last week my brain felt like it was on fire. As much as I was genuinely trying to visualize the outcome I want to see, I couldn’t push away the intense anxiety leading up to the first ultrasound. I’m not being dramatic in saying that it was one of the worst weeks of my life. Every tiny pinch or twinge or pseudo-pain my brain told me, this is it, you’re miscarrying. This is happening again. There’s, unfortunately, nowhere to hide from the negative thoughts in your own brain.

I don’t want this post to be overrun with my anxiety, but I write this to say to anyone else out there in a similar position: I hear you. It is so terrifying to wait while you feel like your mind in running full speed toward a cliff.

On the drive to the clinic, I was, as always, looking for signs, wearing my magic bracelet. Anything to help prepare me for what was to come. The previous night I’d had only bad dreams. I’d texted my best friend that I was sure it was my subconscious telling me it wasn’t going to be okay. She replied, “NOT THIS TIME.” I wanted to believe her. Then, on the radio in the car played the song that I walked down the aisle to at my wedding. It was the first time in at least a week I felt like there wasn’t a boulder resting on my chest.

Fast forward to the exam room. My husband and I didn’t really look at each other while we waited. I don’t think we could. I closed my eyes and silently asked all of the people in my life that I’ve loved who are now gone for this to be okay. Please, let this be okay.

When my doctor and the greatest nurse on the planet entered, the tension was palpable. My doctor asked how I was feeling and I eeked out something to the effect of, “I’m really scared.” He nodded, in his warm way, and said, “I’m terrified.” That actually gave me a lot of comfort. He’s so invested in our outcome.

It didn’t take very long after he’d started the ultrasound for me to see the flicker. I said, quietly, “… is that…?” And he nodded with a huge smile. Then all the tears. I reached for my husband’s hand. I looked at him, and he started to cry, too.

Again, I’ll pause my touching story (ahem) to say here that infertility is incredibly hard on relationships. All relationships, but particularly marriages (or partnerships). Sometimes you feel miles apart in the same room. This moment, watching my Alpha Male ex-cop shows no emotion husband cry at the sight of the ultrasound screen allowed me to reconnect with him, and our passion to have a child. I’m so grateful we could share this.

By this time the greatest nurse on the planet was also openly crying. My doc definitely had tears in his eyes, too. Then he turned on the sound and the swishing of the heartbeat brought on another wave of tears.

giphy

5BB is doing great right now. Heartbeat very strong at 123bpm. Measuring (then) at 6 weeks, 4 days, just one day behind my transfer timeline. All signs are positive. My husband has nicknamed the embaby Little Wookiee.

It’s all about the Benjamins, baby

Spoiler alert: Infertility is expensive. I often feel like not only does my body not cooperate, but neither do my finances. Some lucky people make babies for free, ya know?

Thankfully, my absolute favorite resource, FertilityIQ, wants to help ease the financial burden of IVF. To celebrate helping 250,000 people with their doctor and clinic reviews, they’re giving away a $10,000 IVF grant — cha-ching!

10_million_pennies_blue_ivfgrant

The best part of this, in my opinion, is that to be entered to win, you just have to log on to the site and review your doctor or clinic. You’re helping someone else find the right doctor for them, which is awesome, and potentially pocketing $10k for your next (or current) IVF cycle. No need to pour your heart out telling your story, or creating a video for someone to judge. Just submit your review by March 9th. Read the details here and spread the word.

If someone that I referred wins the grant (I mean, how amazing would that be?!), I’ll also get $2,500, of which I will donate half to someone I know who doesn’t have the means to try IVF to build her family. Because pay it forward, right? This community supports their own!

Good luck, and thank you to FertilityIQ for offering this generous grant!

 

*This post is not sponsored, I’m just helping to spread the word!

 

Transfer Day


Olaf and Anakin thawed well and are already starting to hatch. Let’s do this thing.

Edited to add: My sister-in-law, who accompanied me to my transfer since my husband is out of town, surprised me with these baller socks that have MY DOG’S ACTUAL FACE ON THEM!