Picture day

(Thoughts written at the time):

Today I’m 12+6. Today we had another scan.

I’ve been waiting for this for such a long time. Today was the chance to find out if you are doing okay, after weeks of wondering. We got to see you and hear your wee heart.

You kicked away and waved your wee arm and the technician measured your parts and pointed out your legs (crossed at the ankle), your spine, and the two parts of your brain.

Here is a picture of you!

 

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We’ve been telling some people about you. Tonight we’ll tell your uncles and aunts, and your cousins. Tomorrow we’ll message our friends in Scotland and here, and maybe on Friday we’ll tell social media.

It has been hands down the hardest secret I’ve ever had to keep. After years of infertility, we’ve had so many people in our corner, cheering us on. I can’t wait to see how happy knowing about you will make them. I can’t wait til you make my pudgy belly round. I can’t wait til I get to feel you.

Such a wee miracle.

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8-9 weeks

(Thoughts written at the time):

I have the weirdest feeling – it’s like I know you’re there. I can feel this pull in my uterus, like it’s being forced to grow. It’s almost constant. Like an ongoing hello.

I’m feeling a bit breathless at the moment. And so, so tired. I’m also quite over the medications, but also every day this gratitude is always there. What a milestone to get this far.

Apparently the babe now measures as a raspberry or a cherry.  I haven’t gained any weight yet, which is common for those who had a little extra padding to begin with. So far I’ve done nothing but lose (no appetite, queasiness) so I’m a few kgs down. However, I’m already sleeping with a pillow between my knees (the progesterone supplementation makes everything relax, including hips etc, so can lead to early achiness). I think I’ll order some maternity clothes next week. The bloat is unreal.

Had my first real craving last week – salt & vinegar chips!

The worst has been the heartburn. A kind friend sent me some Rennie’s from Scotland (what a life saver). I’m going to stock up on Gaviscon.

My skin is dry and I’m getting a fluffy chin (delightful). Also my boobs being so much bigger and sweating together has given me a rash. Isn’t pregnancy delightful?

I also met my midwife this week who is super lovely and supportive and everything I wanted in a midwife. Chuffed.

So. We’re moving along! The hardest part is not telling anyone. I want to shout it from the rooftops.

 

Scan day

(Thoughts written at the time):

Today I am 7 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Today we had our first scan.

Last Thursday, when I hit 7 weeks, it felt like a switch had been flicked. Suddenly, I felt pregnant. I already had the usual symptoms of the hormones: sore/enlarged chest, gas and bloating, fatigue – but suddenly my uterus had a fullness to it, a slight pressure. I also had very mild pulling cramps. It was like, “Hey! I’m here!”

I don’t understand how other mothers-to-be cope waiting for their first scan. Often it’s this long wait until 12 weeks to know whether or not all is well. I am grateful that one positive of the fertility treatment process is that you always get this early look. It’s a chance to check all is progressing as it should, and hopefully see that heartbeat.

I spent the 3.5 weeks leading up to it terrified that there wouldn’t be a heartbeat.

But there was. There was a little babe, with a little yolk sac, and a little flickering heartbeat. I had to stick my fists under my hips to raise myself a little so we got a good view of it, and then the doctor flicked a switch and suddenly, we heard it.

Magic.

I was measuring right on schedule (even possibly a few days ahead) and all looked well. He advised me to up my thyroid meds until my first blood test, and to get myself a midwife. I’d already seen my GP and contacted a midwife, and shortly after my scan, spoke to her and booked in an appointment.

 

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We’re all go, and finally, suddenly, it all feels real.

I think I’m going to be a mum.

6 weeks

(Thoughts written at the time):

We reached 6 weeks pregnant and I waited for the dreaded morning sickness to come. None came, but shortly after beginning the week, I was hit with a nasty cold. It’s the total worst – as much as I’m embracing being pregnant, it’d be nice to be able to take something to speed up my recovery. Instead, I must rest.

The bloating has begun, and my boobs are already ridiculous. Other than that, I’ve been doing okay. Every day is a day closer to the scan, which I’m most excited about. I know that hearing that heartbeat gives us a 90-95% chance of taking home a baby. Oh how I want to hear it.

For now, have a picture of our weird little moon crater offspring:

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Isn’t that wild? That’s a picture of our embryo freshly thawed on the day it was transferred to my uterus. It blows my mind to have such a tangible reminder that this future person started as this tiny clump of cells.

Today, at 6+4, our babe is the size of a chocolate chip, a pea, a ladybug, a grain of rice, a smartie. The apps all have different cute size reference points, and I have all the apps.

The baby is growing organs and has eyes that can’t quite see yet, and may already apparently be waving its little nubby arms and legs around. This is all super surreal to me. Apart from the little bloated belly (which to be honest, I’ve always had a fat tum), and the tiredness, I don’t really feel any different. I’m still on estradiol and progesterone for 4 more weeks, and I’ve just started separate folic acid and iodine instead of my expensive prenatal, so I currently take about 11 pills a day.

I can’t wait for the first scan, and to reach that 12 week point, too. I think I’ll be forever counting milestones until we feel like we’re “in the clear”. But maybe I’ll never feel really in the clear. It took so much heartache to get here, there’s a part of me expecting failure and devastation.

I pray every day that this pregnancy continues.

Betas

To update you on last week’s very exciting post, our home tests were followed very quickly with a blood draw: the only one I haven’t dreaded.

I knew we were pregnant, I needed to know how pregnant – that number would tell us if this pregnancy was likely to continue or just a blip on the radar.

Thankfully, our first number was 260. 5 days later we were followed with 2300 – an excellent “doubling time”. HCG should double every 48-72 hours, mine had doubled in 38.

Then test number 3 followed a week after that one, with 14300. I finally felt like I could breathe a little bit. All we had to wait for now was the scan: once I’d heard that wee heart beating, we felt like we could tell our close friends and wider family.

It felt like the longest wait of our lives.

Testing time

In an unprecedented move, I did not take a home pregnancy test until 8 days after my transfer (8dp5dt) which is the equivalent of 13 days past ovulation. I am usually a hardcore tester, often starting a few days earlier than this point, and getting more and more disenchanted with every line-less test.

Usually you have a very definitive idea by 9dp5dt (also known as 14 days past ovulation, when for many, periods are due) and I never wanted the call from the nurse to be a painful surprise. So testing beforehand is always my choice.

Maisie requires so much of my energy and brainpower, that I just didn’t bother this time – I honestly was too distracted. I didn’t have any symptoms either than my usual tiredness, my super sensitive nose (which happens every time due to the progesterone) and the only one I hadn’t had before: I was running a slight temperature.

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So when I came home 8dp5dt with a full bladder, hot and moody as hell, I decided to just bite the bullet and get it over with. I pulled out one of my old cheapie sticks, peed on it, and took it immediately into the bedroom while I changed into my usual comfy clothes, refusing to look at yet another stark white negative. I was used to testing without telling my husband, and throwing them away.

When I finally could bring myself to check it, I could see the faintest of second lines. I squinted at it, knowing that I’d “seen” a second line many times before (in desperation), but this time it was definitely actually there.

I ran through to my husband and by now I’d started to cry. His first thought was that someone close to us was dead, and so was very alarmed at how hysterical I was.

I made him check that there was in fact a 2nd line and that it was pink. It was definitely there. Once I’d calmed down, we let ourselves get a little bit excited.

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And then I tested the next morning with 2 sticks (cause what if one is faulty right?!) and they both came up with stronger lines.

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And then the morning of the blood test:

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(Sorry if pee sticks creep y’all out).

It’s pretty hard to believe – but lucky number 5 worked.

I am pregnant.

We didn’t celebrate just yet, we were waiting on the beta (first blood test), so I was holding my breath until we heard a good number. Then holding my breath until we heard a heartbeat, and then we decided we MAY start to relax (but I doubt it).

It has been very hard keeping this to ourselves. I immediately told my closest infertility buddies (because I had to tell someone immediately), and then when we got them face to face that weekend, we told our parents.

This was all 9 weeks ago – I hit 13 weeks on Thursday and all is going well. I’ll fill you in on the thoughts you have missed in upcoming posts very soon.

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I cannot thank you all enough for your endless support and love. Pregnancy after infertility never comes with the greatest of confidence – you are always waiting for someone to snatch it all away again. But I want to do the cute things that have always made me so jealous, and so my social media is about to become a bit excited. Please feel free to take a little distance if you need it.

For now all I can think is:

thank you

thank you

thank you.

All our dreams might just come true.

Transfer day

Transfer number 5 was set for day 22 this cycle: way later than any other transfer I’ve had. When I queried it, they explained that they just schedule you in where they could fit you, and it was a particularly busy schedule for this month! So no scan until day 17 and it felt like I was on the estradiol (estrogen) so much longer, despite it only being 4 more days.

Because of this different timing, transfer day fell in my week off. I booked it because we were hoping to have a holiday, and I also never work on my birthday. And then of course we were getting Maisie, so it was really helpful to have the time at home with her.

 

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It was super weird knowing that we would transfer an embryo, and then 2 days later, I would turn 34. We started trying when I was 30 (a few months shy of 31), and all through this process, everyone has been telling us how young we are, how much time we have. Now we’re suddenly a year away from being “less likely to succeed” in any of this, and with limited embryos/finances to fund more IVF, we are looking at a single child (if that).

However, if that’s the outcome, we embrace it. “Spoiled” single child coming right up.

 

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On transfer day, I channelled the above image: I was calm and collected. I surrendered to the process and believed that the dilatation would make it the eas(ier) transfer we hoped for. I was scheduled later in the morning so that my specialist could do the transfer himself. He wasn’t due to be doing many transfers that day but wanted me on his schedule.

And like an idiot, despite having done this 4 times already, I let myself get distracted by Maisie and didn’t drink all of the water I needed to to get a clear ultrasound for the procedure. I ended up lying on the table for 40 minutes (and drinking some more water), before they had a clear enough view. I was usually an A+ student at this and super full by our arrival at the clinic. I was so embarrassed, but luckily being the last on the schedule, I was able to lie there (albeit in the rather warm room – embryos like it toasty) until we were ready to go.

Unfortunately, it was still difficult. Different catheters and rods were used, my cervix was clamped and pulled down (always fun), and it still hurt. But way less than the others (#4 was particularly traumatic), and with no cramping, and no bleeding. I was deflated but still hopeful.

And the wait began. Oh how I am tired of waiting. But wishing and praying and hoping as hard as I can.