It just occured to me that I still have this blog floating around on the world wide web. The last personal post was about the IVF/ICSI process. It was actually really fun for me to read this morning on my phone screen which was propped up on my giant whale stomach. Yes thats right – as you very likely know already our very first cycle of IVF/ICSI was a success! I am current 30 weeks pregnant with a healthy and crazy active girl.
This was out announcement photo at 12 weeks. I was actually pushing my tummy out for this because I wanted to make sure I looked pregnant! Little did I know it wouldn’t take long before I actually looked very pregnant indeed. I have felt so blessed and lucky throughout the entire process. First of all, for all of you who have never been through a fertility treatment – having 100% success on the first try is a miracle. I really truly did not believe we would get pregnant on the first try. I wasn’t even convinced we would get pregnancy with any of our frozen embryos, and thought we would surely have to do the entire IVF process over again. Perhaps in part to protect my emotions, but also because it is very common to go through multiple rounds before finding success.
When you are doing IVF, the doctor tells you not to take a home pregnancy test and instead wait until you come in for your beta blood test. This is because if any of the hormones are still present in your body from your “trigger shot” (the last injection you give yourself before your egg retrieval) it can give you a false positive. So I consulted Grandma Google, and she told me the hormones should be out of my body within 10 days. So I risked it and tested at home after 12 days. I had done so many home tests over the past couple years with negative results that this time I was very casual about the whole thing. I had returned home from running errands, which included picking up some cheap two for five euro pee tests. I went to the toilet and did my thing – then proceeded to put a few groceries away and casually looked at the stick a couple of minutes later instinctually heading to the trash to throw it away as I knew it would ne negative anyway. But no! There was this extra line….holy shit! The images above are from later on, about 15 or 16 days I think. After my beta blood test the nurse told me the levels were quite low, so I needed to take a home test again after a few days, and if it was still positive then it was a good sign. So of course that translated to testing twice daily for the next 2 weeks. Obviously. To my great relief the line remained and even grew darker over the next week.
However I wasn’t out of the woods yet. I told my immediate family and a few friends, but with great hesitation. I think it was very difficult for them to understand my caution about getting too excited yet. You must remember that most women with “normal” pregnancies don’t know so early on that they are pregnant at all. There is still a huge window of time for things to go wrong as they very often do. Most women have the luxury of waiting a whole 12 weeks to tell anyone, but we wanted to tell a few people as they were already up to date on when and where all of our IVF procedures were happening. So we felt it silly to not continue to update them. But I remained only cautiously optimistic for the first 12 weeks. And of course IVF pregnancies do have higher odds of miscarriage on top of the already grim stats for “normal” pregnancies. I think its 75% chance in the first two weeks of miscarriage, and it decreases from there. I couldn’t believe our good fortune for getting pregnant at all and was sure the other shoe would drop and we would have to start again.
But baby stayed put. I never even had morning sickness or any of the normal symptoms. Still today in my third trimester, my only symptoms have been insane dreams, some headaches, and potty problems. No nausea (other than twice for maybe 10 minutes), no heartburn, no major mood swings and so far no bloating. But I do have the dreaded stretch marks below my belly button. I know its horribly vain, but I am super bummed about them.
We paid a whopping 35 euro at 15 weeks to have a special sexing ultrasound that tell us if we were having a boy or a girl. It was a girl! We kept it to ourselves until the 20 week anatomy scan. I realized not having the first 12 weeks of pregnancy be a secret between just the two of us had robbed me a bit of any sense of normalcy. So knowing the gender early was really exciting for me and it helped me bond with her. I wasn’t feeling very connected to anything, but after I knew it was a girl, I felt like I knew who I was carrying around with me. And of course once I started feeling her move (which is non-stop) I felt like I knew her even more. Watch out world….
I am grateful I have had so much energy during this pregnancy. Here are a list of all the reasons why:
- My sister visited for a week and a bit in early first trimester
- My mom visited for two weeks & we took a trip to Paris during my first trimester
- Piet and I took a “babymoon” trip to Kos Greece for one week
- Our friend Katie visited for one week during the second trimester
- Our friend Amy visited for a few days end of second trimester
- Our friend Launa visited for a week end of second trimester
- We got the keys to our new house and I spent the first two weeks there every day sweating balls and painting. (Paint is less toxic here and I had the OK from our midwife to paint)
- Was surprised with a babyshower!
- Currently in my third trimester and I am slowly working on packing up our current house for the big move next weekend. Eep!
- Still have to paint one wall the nursery next week and put everything together once the move is done
I guess it’s been a pretty busy and full pregnancy when I look back! I also attribute all the visitors and walking around to having overall only gained 3 kilo so far (around 6 lbs). I am pretty sure I have lost normal body weight while gaining baby weight. But also we don’t have a car, so I still walk and ride my bike for all errands. Yes Americans….can you believe it? I am 30 weeks pregnant and still riding my bike around town with no helmet! Not in anyway an unusual sight here. In fact, I find it wayyyy easier than walking at this stage in the game. However I can not tell you how excited I am to get into the new house and settled so we can relax before baby comes….if that is possible. I haven’t even been able to work on the nursery! I have long had the dream of nesting and building the perfect baby room…and I will only get to start at 31 weeks pregnant!
I am currently sitting up in bed with my 8 million pillows. If I lay too vertical I get light headed and nauseous, if I lay on my right side for too long it feels like the side of my body is severely bruised, but ahhhh the left side. Still going strong. I slept most of last night basically sitting up. Things are getting real! Before I end this post, I wanted to share a couple of items/ tips that have really help me through this pregnancy so far:
- My P’tit Chou pregnancy and nursing pillow. I am sure there are a ton of brands offering the same thing, just make sure you get one that is really long and flexible.
I have used it the entire pregnancy. You can wrap it around you and support your belly and between your legs as well as resting your head on it. It’s the best. I also often use it while watching TV on the couch, or wrapping it around myself and propping my laptop on it. Then when baby is born you can use it as a nursing pillow. Oh and FYI – I was afraid the cover would be hard to put back on after washing but it is not difficult at all.
- This one might be TMI, but it legit helped me a lot. If you are struggling with constipation at any point, I really suggest buying a Squatty Potty. I didn’t buy one, although I now see it’s only €31.90 online…so I might order one now. But what I did instead was set our small pedal lid trash can in front of me and propped my feet up on top of it when I needed to go #2. It really helps get things moving and you can avoid pushing and causing any unwanted hemorrhoids. I also drank a packet of Metamucil every day for the first few months which helped a little. Every time I thought of Bob Barker as there was always commercials for Metamucil on during The Price is Right show. <3
- Another TMI, but as I said, all of my symptoms have been potty related, and so I feel I must share things that helped me. So, second toilet item is an attachable bidet sprayer. If you just search on Amazon “bidet hose” you will have lots of results. They should be really easy to install on an American style toilet and look something like this…
If I wasn’t constipated I was going five times a day and none of it was normal, and as my acupuncturist likes to ask me, “is it sticky?” Yes…yes it is. My back side can get pretty raw and uncomfortable because of all this. Flushable wipes are really popular here, but if you want to be sure you are clean, and you’re not harming the environment, get a bidet! Also if you are planning on using washable diapers, I think this will come in handy.
Side note – I became curious about the bidet after listening to this podcast… Stuff You Should Know A Dry Look at Toilet Paper