Friday, April 8, 2016
1 + 1 =3
Doug and I are expecting a baby! We are very excited for little baby VT to join us on or around October 15th, and you lucky blog readers are finding out a few days before FB friends :) altho a lot of people already know since I am not a good secret keeper. I will be 13 weeks tomorrow, and yet it seems like just yesterday I first saw that positive test. Many times I thought I'd never make it to this point, and yet still so far to go! Pregnancy has definitely been an area of developing and deepening trust with God for me, and it has been good. When I was trying to get pregnant I loved reading about other people's journeys, so I am going to share mine too. This post will prob be TMI, so just scroll to the bottom (or skip) if you don't like this stuff. It seemed like it took us forever. But it was really *just* 11 cycles. I can't remember exactly, but it was about 6 months after marriage we decided to start "trying" so I went and got a check-up and made sure things were good to go. I had been charting my periods for about 2 years and so we had already been using natural family planning/fertility awareness method to avoid getting pregnant so we just started using that time to try to achieve pregnancy. I was already super nervous about being 34 and remembering sitting in a biology lecture years ago and the professor saying egg quality starts to decline at 27. I think I was exactly 27 and was no where near marriage and thinking "oh great". So yeah, but I also knew that my mom got pregnant with me at 34 after 3 months and went on to have 2 more healthy babies so there was that hope. Anyway, about 6 months went by of negative tests/periods. I was feeling ok at that point still. But we decided to go back to the doctor to see about tests. Since I was close to 35 and they say 6 months trying at 35 is 'infertile' they could run some tests. First we got Doug's sperm tested. It came back with flying colors, there were millions of them and they looked pretty good with good tails/heads, etc. Yay! Then I got my blood tested. It looked like my levels were in normal limits for estradiol and luteinizing hormone. The next set of tests became a little more invasive. Next I had a cycle day 12 ultrasound where they look to see if your ovary looks like it's making an egg. And it looked like mine was. They also measure the thickness of your uterine lining. I always worried about not having a thick lining since I have light periods, but it was 6mm (supposed to be +8mm) but I usually ovulated closer to day 15 vs 'the norm' day 12, so my doctor said it grows 1mm per day and so would be thick enough by ovulation. Anyway, very interesting stuff and looked like so far so good. The last test I did I think another month or so after that was get a HSG. For that test they inject a dye into your uterus and then take a picture of it to see if it shoots through your fallopian tubes and out the ends into the abdomen. That way they can see if there are any blockages, cysts, and generally 'clear out the tubes'. I had read women have an increased chance of pregnancy from that test alone and hey, covered by insurance, so we went for it. That test was not painful really, but uncomfortable. There's my mighty fine looking uterus, with patent tubes. So that was November. (I never knew Fallopian tubes were so tiny and wiry!) and you can see the dye squirting out into the abdomen. Pretty cool. December went by, January, and by then I was starting to get sad. I would always think maybe this month and then my period would come and I would cry. February was Jill's wedding and the day or so before I took a test and it was negative. That one hit me the hardest yet and I just went back to bed with Doug and cried for like an hour while he hugged me. So then Jill's wedding. I expected my period but never got it, and I think Monday I took another test and saw the faintest little line! The first person I told was my friend Kim who was pregnant and we'd been talking about our journeys TTC the whole time. I wanted to wait till Valentine's day to come up with a special way to tell Doug. But a few days before I woke up with really bad cramping. I woke Doug up and said "Doug, I'm pregnant but I think I'm having a miscarriage." I feel so bad about this now. I guess early cramping isn't that unusual, but I didn't know! Poor Doug. He said he was happy for a second and then really sad! :( But I didn't even have a drop of blood and the cramping stopped and the pregnancy pee tests kept getting darker. (I didn't know you had to see if they kept getting darker) There is something not that great about finding out early you are pregnant. The chances of miscarriage are really high in the beginning, so it just seems like it takes forever to see if baby will stick around or not. I came across this website that calculated the odds and I slowly watched my odds go from around 23% and now it's steady at about 2%. But really even when I felt relieved watching it go down I had to actively remind myself that this baby's life is in God's control. Not the control of a website or odds. And I had to just keep trusting that God knew best. I still have to do that, and probably every mom feels like that every day! And it does feel like a huge blessing to be pregnant at all. Not everyone gets this chance. So yeah, 11 cycles, just 1 month short of what they call 'infertility' for women who are under 35. I'm not sure if anything I did helped or not, I was reading posts like this one, I read Making Babies, and the Fertility Awareness book, and Kind Mama by Alicia Silverstone, and trying to make healthy lifestyle and food choices, we used a TTC fertility lube that's supposed to keep sperm alive, and then I took a whole host of vitamins and supplements I felt kind of nervous taking supplements, Vitex, Maca, Red Clover are supposed to support women's cycles- but my hormones were normal, so was I going to mess them up? But I think I started taking them around cycle 9 so who knows. I guess I figured by body already had 8 months to do it itself already ;) Some of the other ones were to support kidney and liver functions and all that is supposed to help too. I had read that babies want a warm uterus so I went to bed every night with a hot pack on my stomach. Which felt awesome and cozy anyway since it was winter. The only thing I regret doing was I had went to lunch with a friend and she told me she had several miscarriages trying to get pregnant and some doctor in Chicago thought her body's immune was killing her husband's sperm so they put some of his blood injected into her skin. And yes, I did that. DIY style. Which I instantly regretted as I was injecting myself because I realized our scenarios were totally different. She had already had multiple miscarriages, I had never even been pregnant. What if injecting Doug's blood I was preparing my immune system to attack it?! Anyway, I can see now how desperate I had really become. And I guess it didn't matter anyway, because the next month we were pregnant. We went in for the first doctor appointment at 8 weeks and they meet you, take blood and listen for a heartbeat. I thought I had a different estimated due date based on my charted ovulation, so they ended up doing an ultrasound that day! Which we did not expect. Doug had come with me because I knew if there wasn't going to be a heartbeat I'd need him there. So they zoomed in on my uterus and there was our little one right there! You could see the heart beating like little flashes of light and see tiny arm buds. Awwww I guess I am just so pessimistic, I really thought they'd zoom in and see an empty uterus. It was beyond a pleasant surprise. We didn't cry, but it was really joyful and exciting. That black spot is baby's brain, and that other white circle thing is a yolk sac that feeds baby. But by now it is gone and I would have grown the placenta. (How cool your body not only grows a baby but also an entirely new organ!) It really is a miracle. I'm sure baby looks really different even just 4 weeks later. Now he/she has real arms and legs and fingers and toes that are already not webbed anymore. And little ears and eyelids. Amazing. Every week Doug and I sit together and watch the "what to expect" update on our baby's progress. We didn't know at 12 weeks everything has already been developed/grown and just takes the rest of the pregnancy to mature. WOW! So crazy. My baby is fully formed and I'm not even hardly showing. What a miracle. We won't see baby again until 20wks, but every time I go I hear the heartbeat. Going strong at 165-170 (which old wives would say is a girl, we shall soon find out). So here I am. I feel so lucky and blessed and thankful. And so so sorry for the many women who are still out there hoping and trying for their families. I do feel some guilt about that. For example, I really want to share with my Bible study group about this blessing, but at the same time I know this other woman is in the throes of IVF testing. It's so hard. I can't relate. I never had to do that, and never had a miscarriage, and I am so thankful for that, but also feel so bad for those women. But I also think it's good and important to celebrate how good God has been to me, I don't want to not share that, it just feels harder than I thought. For anyone hoping and trying, I hope your time comes soon. My friend had sent me this verse and I found it to be helpful: You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:3-4. Ok. Better wrap this post up. So almost out of the first trimester. Total weight gain: -2 lbs pre-pregnancy. I'm guessing that will change all too soon. I do feel bustier, but mostly my stomach looks the same or like I ate a big sandwich. Gestational age: 12 weeks 6 days Baby items purchased: one crib, and some maternity clothes that were on clearance altho still in all my regular clothes Nausea: ....feeling guilty again... but not really any. What I would call stomachaches, and there was one evening where I had to sit completely motionless for like hours or I may have thrown up, but that's about it. Cravings: still fruit and carbs and cheese in any form. I also want things I can't have, turkey lunchmeat (which I almost never want) and hot dogs (who am I?!?). Doug is pretty strict too and won't let me have any :( he got that not-your-father's-root beer too and drank a whole pack without even giving me one little sip. Cruel. Avoidances: not really wanting chocolate (crazy right!?!) and not eating too healthy in general (sorry baby). I am still taking vitamins and exercising and drinking lots of water though! Sleep: I get tired at 9:30 on the dot and have been sleeping 8-9 hours a night with at least one pee wake up. And still relishing sleeping on my stomach. Names: Doug and I will not be sharing the name! So don't ask! We will be finding out the gender soon because I had some maternal blood test done. So that's exciting. Even so we both have one boy's name we like each, and we don't agree on girl's names at all. I will share Doug's girls names because they aren't happening: Destiny and Candy... um... no Trips planned: we booked our flight to Germany! Still have to iron out the details, but we will be driving from Amsterdam, through Germany visiting my old host family from my high-school exchange student days, and flying out of Salzburg, Austria. We are excited. I think I'll be 18 wks around that time. Which I'm reading most people still feel pretty good. It's fun to think and plan for our little addition. One evening Doug and I went to Buy, Buy Baby to look at baby stuff and think about registering. He is such a fun guy. Lol I'm so excited to see him as a dad. He's going to be amazing. and finally some belly pics. I probably won't always be showing skin, but doesn't look like much is happening yet: the day of the positive test: 8 weeks: and 12 wks: We were waiting until we got the latest test results back to make the FB announcement, and were trying for a good picture. I wanted to do the one lined up with everyone's feet but September kept ruining our picture and wouldn't stay in her spot! So last week when it was sunny we had our friend Thor take a couple shots. Now I notice 2 blades of grass are covering part of the frame, but I guess you can't complain when someone is taking your picture for free. I think it turned out really cute anyway Anyway, we are very thankful to have made it this far, and continue to pray over the life of this little one God is creating in my womb for us even right at this very minute. Thank you God!