Baby K Progress Report

*For my readers who are still climbing the uphill battle that is infertility, this post might be a trigger. Please skip if need be and as usual, I’ll continue writing about infertility as well in the future.*

I’ve been getting  a lot of questions about how I’m feeling, if I’m growing, etc. Which is great! I never thought I’d be in a position to answer those questions.

Feeling? Pretty good! I was blessed with little to no nausea. I have a new gag reflex happening, but all in all, good. I’m tired when I get home, but have a big burst of energy around 9 at night. Weird.

Sleep? Meh. Not well. I know, I know. I’ll never sleep again. {insert eye roll} let me live in denial as long as I want, okay? My dreams are insane. Insanely weird. Every damn night I dream something so detailed that sometimes I can even recall them.

Factor V Status? As of right now, I’m still on baby aspirin and a blood thinner shot and will be throughout the remainder of pregnancy. So far, so good. Please keep praying that the pregnancy stays this way. There’s a lot that could happen later down the road.

Here are some bump photos I’ve been taking along the way!

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Is This Your First?

*I wrote some posts while we were pregnant, but hadn’t announced on the blog yet. This is from a couple weeks back.*


 

“Is this your first pregnancy?”

Pause.

I always pause when I am asked this question. And it’s a question I’ve been asked a lot since trying to decide on an OB. I never quite know what to say. Part of me wants to simply say yes. Another part of me wants to say no and explain my last three years of infertility. But the logic in me answers: “I had a chemical pregnancy in May.”

And I leave it at that. I don’t say yes or no. I don’t tell them the details, nor do they probably care. The question throws me off guard every single time. Is this the first pregnancy I think, hope and pray will end with a baby in my arms? Yes. Is this my first pregnancy? No.

I am pregnant now, feel blessed beyond words and am convinced this baby is all a part of my ‘life’ plan, but I still struggle with my past at times. Getting pregnant does not mean my years of pain and loss go away. The journey has changed me and I wish I could say it changed me entirely for the better, but it’s also changed me in ways that have made me more apprehensive. Nervous. Unsure of the future.

Being in the 1% who get pregnant naturally after failed treatments and IVFs is a blessing, but it’s also difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means complaining about this amazing gift I have been given {in fact, if I read that, still being not pregnant and trying to get pregnant I might punch myself}. But I can’t deny the past that’s now made me who I am. I envy those who pee on that stick and don’t worry 24/7. I know they say once you become a mother, you are always worrying, but this is different. A friend and I were talking about how hard this is, mentally, some days to be pregnant after loss and infertility. It’s helped to talk about it and know I’m not totally insane. The first two weeks, I didn’t want to move for fear I’d somehow shake this baby out. I wish I was kidding, but ask Jordan, he did everything around the house {God bless him}. I asked for an extra ultrasound because I’ve been blessed with so few symptoms and it worried me so much. Every twinge, pull and cramp, I think, “Is this okay?” I wasn’t on bed rest, I was just scared of losing the thing I’ve been wanting the most for so long. Trying to so hard to create and failing so miserably every time before.

A few weeks after we found out, I was talking to a friend who lost her baby daughter far too soon. She said she understood where I was coming from, but said she wished she would have spent less time worrying in the beginning knowing now how little time she really had with her daughter.

It made me think. And I wanted to honor the daughter she lost and loves. I realized this might be the only pregnancy I ever get. This might not happen for me again. And I want to embrace it. Every single part of it. The good, the bad and the  ugly. Because this is what I have been praying for every single day.

Just Sleep On It

“Just sleep on it. It’ll come to you.”

Words of wisdom from my husband, that truthfully, I thought were a load of BS when he initially said it. “Sleep on it!? That’s not going to help!” is what I told him.

These are the words he repeated to me the entire month of September, when I was going back and forth on a daily basis about our next step in our fertility journey. We put down a deposit for a 3rd IVF, but I kept thinking about possibly 3 more egg retrievals {though mini} and more transfers. What if they failed? What if it’s a waste? I hopped back and forth in my mind about embryo adoption. We know I can get pregnant since our chemical in May, maybe we should re-look at embryo adoption.

This was the constant internal struggle I had daily in September. I was the most stressed I had been in our fertility journey as far as being at a crossroads. Whenever I would think these thoughts out loud Jordan would say, “I don’t know what to do either. Let’s sleep on it. It’ll come to us.”

Much to our shock, surprise, excitement and again, shock, it did come to us. But it wasn’t a decision we had to make.

I got a positive pregnancy test on our anniversary, September 24. Days before we would start our 3rd and final round of IVF.

I started at the stick for hours. Analyzing. Knowing it was wrong. It had to be. How could it be right? It was a very light line and on a brand of test that is known to have evaporation lines. No way was it right. I showed Jordan when he woke up and his words, “No way. No way can that be right.” I said, “Agreed. I’ll pee on another and we’ll call the doctor for a blood test to be sure.”

I got the blood test and sure enough, my levels were positive. I wasn’t even sure how many days past ovulation I was because for once in my life I wasn’t tracking anything. We had to wait two days to see if it doubled. It did. And then it doubled again. I was put on some medicine for my PCOS and my Factor V Leiden {still didn’t get away with no shots  – daily shot throughout pregnancy!}.

This. Was. Real. 

We had a six week ultrasound that showed a 6 week old baby with a heartbeat of 107. A great first sign. We had an ultrasound at 7 and 8 weeks, both times baby had a heartbeat of 120 and then 150. We got to hear the baby’s heartbeat yesterday and it was probably the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. I must have listened to it 100 times. {Sorry, Amy, a Peppermint Patty candy breaking is now a close second to Baby K’s heartbeat.}

We’ve graduated from the Fertility Clinic and are regular OB patients now. I’ll still be seeing a high risk OB for the Factor V, but so far, we’re officially still pregnant. 11 weeks last Monday. I think the shock is finally starting to wear off and excitement kick in, but for the longest time I felt like I was living a dream.

We are thrilled, blessed, anxious and excited to welcome a Baby Kimble June 5.

I am sorry for keeping this a secret on the blog, I know I have some followers that aren’t family who don’t know yet, but pregnancy after infertility is no joke. I was very anxious the first few weeks. The years of infertility, failed treatments and chemical pregnancy did a number on me and by no means am I complaining, but I have had moments of pure anxiety thinking about how I will cope if something happens. You see, we’re so used to the bad in the infertility world, it can be sometimes difficult to accept the good. I am doing better now and am feeling less nervous. Once you’re pregnant, your past does not go away and it’s unfortunately, changed who I am and my experience being pregnant. Some for the good and some for the bad.

I also want to say this – I know people hear these stories “all the time.” {I put that in air quotes because it happens much less often than we hear, I am in the 1% category.} Suddenly becoming pregnant before or after a fertility treatment. I am not sure why this has happened now (possibly my laparoscopy surgery in August), but I can tell you it was not because we went on vacation, not because we relaxed, not because I wasn’t on hormones, not because I wasn’t thinking about it or not because I “let go.” You can’t let go of a dream so big. While I know this story may provide hope for some, it may not for others. Hearing stories about spontaneous pregnancy wasn’t easy for me when I was going through infertility treatments, so please, if you’re going to ‘tell’ my story, be careful with whom you are sharing and what they are experiencing in their life right now. My story is not their story, and their story is not another’s.

I’ll continue to blog, keep you all updated on the pregnancy, but also will write about what it’s like to be pregnant after infertility. I’ll continue to write about my infertility experiences, too, because helping people by sharing has become an important part of my life.

Thank you for the love, support and hope. We are ever so appreciative.

And thank you to my husband for most beautiful words of wisdom BS I’ve ever heard.

“Just sleep on it.”

Sharing Our Story with Others

Sorry for the writing hiatus and lapse in updates! Today, I just wanted to pop in to let you know that Scary Mommy published a blog post of mine from when we had our chemical pregnancy in May.

While starting this blog was to update our families and friends, a big part of it has become spreading the word about infertility and loss. It’s important to me that I continue to share!

http://www.scarymommy.com/pregnancy-loss-but-was-mom/

 

 

Jellyfish and Sharks

I was thinking about Hawaii the other day. I was thinking about the water. There was this beach we visited often on our trip in June. All the water in Hawaii is beautiful and clear, but this beach, there was something about the clarity of the water at this beach that kept us coming back. Truth be told, I’m a little tiny bit afraid of the ocean. I’m not sure why because my parents have taken us to the ocean since we were young, but something about jellyfish and sharks really freak me out. But I had no problem wading and swimming at this beautiful, clear beach. I felt totally safe. I could see to the bottom even if I couldn’t touch. There was another beach literally steps from our condo. Also a really nice beach and great for sunbathing, but not quite as clear. I didn’t want to swim in it. I couldn’t see to the bottom and the water just didn’t feel as safe for some reason. I had no idea where those sharks or jellyfish were lurking and it made me anxious.

That’s how I’ve felt lately. Like I’ve been swimming in a not-so-clear ocean. Don’t get me wrong – the ocean is still really pretty – I have a wonderful family, friends, good job and roof over my head, but I feel like I have no idea what’s currently lurking below me and the decisions we have to make moving forward are monumental. They seem SO big. Because, really, they are big. Will IVF work this time? Will I go through 1 more, but possibly 3 more egg retrievals for none of them to work? Will we get embryos this time? Will I have another chemical pregnancy? Will my Factor V diagnosis increase my chances of preeclampsia or a blood clot? Should have done embryo adoption? Should I keep putting my body through all of this? Can I handle this physically?

These are the thoughts running through my mind lately. These are my sharks and jellyfish.The thing with infertility is that you want to have no regrets. You never want to look back and think, “What If?” but I’ve come to realize that might be impossible. This journey is painful. More painful than I think I’ll ever be able to accurately put into words. I’ve been having a hard time dealing with these sharks and jellyfish lately and I have realized that my heart has been wounded more than I ever thought it could be.

There are a lot of stings on this journey. Some hurt worse than others. A new diagnosis. A cyst that pushes back IVF. I also know there are going to be times when a shark pulls me all the way under water. A failed IVF. No embryos. It’s those moments that you forget how to breathe underwater. You begin to panic a little. Will I make it back to the top? But then I remember, I know how to swim. I’ll make my way back to the surface, eventually.

Right now, I’m still swimming in that not-so-clear ocean. My arms are tired and my mind is anxious.

But hopefully, someday, I’ll make my way to the really, beautiful crystal clear beach.

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Post-Op Update

We had my surgery post-op appointment yesterday with the doctor. I’m cleared for working out again – yay – however, minimally, so I can continue to gain weight.

Primarily, though, we talked about the next IVF and our recurring pregnancy loss panel blood work. Unfortunately, I have been diagnosed with Factor V Leiden. It is an inherited blood-clotting disorder due to the mutation of the blood’s factor V protein. It increases the chance of blood clots developing more than the normal person. In regular life, as long as I stay healthy, maintain a good weight, etc., I shouldn’t develop clots or have any issues. Make sure I don’t sit too long on an airplane without getting up and walking around and steering clear of certain medications – all very simple. However, for pregnancy it is a different story. Having the Factor V gene can cause miscarriages and the trauma on my body could cause me to develop clots, preeclampsia, low birth weight of a baby and more. BUT the good news – there are ways to combat this during pregnancy to ensure healthy mom and baby. Starting 3 days after embryo transfer, I’ll start a shot called Lovenox. It’s a blood thinner and it’ll help prevent miscarriage and clotting issues. Unfortunately, I’ll be on it for the duration of pregnancy and likely a while after, but it’ll be worth it and I’m glad to know there’s something that can help!

We also talked about one last blood work test Jordan and I are both planning to make sure the chromosomes in our DNA are not broken. We’ll be getting those tests done in in the next couple of weeks.

I have a good year or so, hopefully, until the endometriosis could start growing back so we don’t have to move our IVF time frame up, which is nice. He said removing it may or may not make a difference in egg quality, but it was still best we removed it.

We plan to take this next IVF one day at a time. What I mean by that is we may or may not transfer an embryo in November, depending on how many we get in the end. We are going to focus on not overstimmulating me so I only get about 6 good eggs and ultimately, hopefully, 6 good embryos. They tend to do this in older patients with poor egg response, but we’re hoping this helps to improve the quality of my eggs. If we end up with 1 or 2 embryos, he may choose to freeze them and then have me stimulate for 2 more rounds to ‘bank’ embryos.

We are feeling good about everything and are really liking our new doctor {same clinic}. For now, I’ll continue trying to gain weight, taking all my supplements, avoiding amazing things like caffeine and alcohol and continuing with tests. Thanks for the constant support and love!

Keeping It All Together

So, as you probably saw on Facebook, I let this very sweet, nice and talented photographer from Spectrum Health photograph my endometriosis lap and I spoke with a writer from Spectrum Health as well to share my story about how I was diagnosed with PCOS.

I have a big voice. We all know that, right? I’m not afraid to say things. I’m not afraid to share how I’m feeling. So truthfully, talking to her about how I came about being diagnosed with PCOS wasn’t actually all that hard for me. Letting someone photograph me while I went under to find out if I had endometriosis, not as hard or as weird as you would think.

I feel really strongly about advocating so that others don’t feel so alone. I feel strongly about advocating so that others might find their diagnosis of PCOS or endometriosis earlier than I did. I wish I had a happy ending to give those who need hope right now, but I don’t yet. So meanwhile, I’ll just keep educating, sharing and speaking about infertility.

The support I always receive from family and friends when I do share, is, well amazing. The encouragement you all give me makes my heart really happy, so please, keep it coming.

But. {Yes, there’s a “BUT.”}

I don’t really have it all together.

I love that you all think I’m brave and handling it with grace, but that’s truthfully not always the case.

The other day, after I got the news that I have yet another thing wrong with me, I walked through the store crying while picking up ground beef for dinner. A different day, I cried in the bathroom at work when my doctor appointment got pushed back a week. I wanted scream after an insensitive comment and ranted about it to Jordan. I felt achingly sad on the fifteenth because all I could think about was how unfair it was that I wasn’t 40 weeks pregnant like I should have been from our first IVF. I scowled on the fifteenth when I walked by the baby section at Meijer. I was short with co-workers one morning because I woke up nervous about my appointment the next day, that ultimately got moved. I get irrationally mad that I can’t get pregnant the ‘normal’ way. I listen to sad music in the cry by myself because sometimes I just need to cry. I get sad when I see pregnancy announcements, mainly because I wonder if I’ll ever be able to post one myself. Sometimes if I’ve been triggered, I sob and say out loud, “This is not fair. I hate this. I can’t do this.” I’ve said the words: “I feel like God doesn’t think I should have a baby,” even though I know that’s not at all true.

So you see, I don’t really have it together all the time. I admitted this to a friend when she texted me back about the article, stating how proud she was of me. She said,”That’s the thing, you don’t always have to have it all together. Your imperfection…that’s what makes you.”

I’ve been sitting here feeling a little guilty that people think I’m brave when I’m actually scared out of my mind about how all of this will turn out.

Bur I suppose she’s right. Our flaws are a part of us. I don’t have to be brave all the time, and I know I won’t be, but I’ll continue to try.