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Many months ago, my acupuncturist told me that she would really like to see me give up dairy as well as sugar before I started the redo of IVF #1. I could handle giving up sugar (and obviously imitation sweeteners like Splenda, etc) as I’d been doing that on and off (though mostly on) for 8 months prior. The thought of giving up dairy was absolutely unfathomable to me as a vegetarian for many, many reasons that I highlighted in this post. However, I wanted a baby so desperately that I gave up 16 years of vegetarianism, bit the bullet and gave up dairy (and sugar again).

I’m not going to lie…giving up dairy is a huge challenge for me. I’ve lived nearly all of my life in Wisconsin and I love me some dairy. Sugar was not as tough as I thought it would be, but I still had my moments of weakness as I’m pretty convinced that I’m addicted to sugar. Once I start eating it, I can’t stop. It’s BAD.

So I’d muddle through about 6-8 weeks of a dairy free lifestyle before and during my IVF cycle until I got the official BFN from the clinic, then promptly go into depressive cheese/sugar/booze binge for a few weeks until it was time to do it all over again. I distinctly remember a particular trip to Target where I walked out with a package of peanut butter M&M’s, a bag of green apple Jelly Belly’s, three Tollhouse cookies and a block of cheese. And ONLY those items. It was heaven. I also got to experience cheeseburgers for the first time in years. Absolutely divine. And having cheese and sour cream with my Mexican food was so delicious.

And while giving up dairy and sugar during those weeks was tough, it was certainly doable. But like I mentioned above, it was only for 6-8 weeks at a time. At this point, I’ve been sugar and dairy free for 14 weeks and counting. I’ve tried to make due with substitutes. I found grain sweetened chocolate chips to help with my chocolate cravings. I’ve got a great sugar free and dairy free pumpkin muffin recipe that I’ve been baking nearly nonstop so I have quick snacks that somewhat help quell my sweet tooth. I’ve got rice milk that I can pour on my sugar free granola. I’ve gotten by without too much discomfort.

But now it’s starting to kill me. I honestly feel like I can’t do it anymore. My acupuncturist told me that I needed to maintain my diet until the end of the first trimester. If I’m calculating my trimesters correctly, I won’t be into my second trimester until the 16th of August, which, while only three weeks away, seems literally like an eternity to me. I really don’t think don’t think that I can hold out much longer. Every day gets harder and harder to decline those foods that I crave so desperately. In fact, I suppose my statement above about being dairy and sugar free isn’t entirely true. In the past week I’ve consumed two tiny sips of a 7-11 cherry Slurpee, one tiny bit of a 100 Grand bar, a bunch of tiny pieces of melted cheese on the nachos that I was mostly able to de-cheese, a tiny bit of sour cream which I was unable to remove from said nachos, two small sips of a Starbucks caramel Frappacino, a sip of iced coffee and one small fried cheese curd.

And isn’t the general rule “all things in moderation?” And don’t they generally say about pregnancy related guidelines that if avoiding whatever the taboo items is that if it’s going to stress you out significantly, then perhaps it’s better to just partake than to stress yourself out more? Can you tell I’m fishing for support in my desire to return to sugar and dairy?

I think that if all is well at Tuesday’s ultrasound, I will probably gradually start to bring those items back into my diet. At this point it’s causing me more stress and anguish than I believe it’s doing me good. All things in moderation, that’s just what I need to remember.

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It’s been a crazy week and a half since my very brief and not very informative post regarding our second u/s and it’s time for me to catch up. As I mentioned previously, I was quite honestly fearing the worst, right up until I got to work, at which point I ceased to be nervous or afraid anymore. I was not nervous for the ride over to the office and only briefly got nervous right before the tech began the u/s.

Once again, the initial angle of the wand was just so, so that the very first image that we got was what appeared to be an empty gestational sac. Before I could even begin to process that image, she moved the wand every so slightly and there was our baby. I couldn’t see the heartbeat as quickly this time and before I could even worry about it, she said “There’s your baby and its heartbeat.” She turned on the microphone and we could hear the heart beating away at 173 lovely beats per minute. The relief was amazing. Despite the bleeding, everything was OK. She did the measurements and proclaimed that the baby was measuring at 8 weeks and 4 days, which was right on target with our retrieval date. More relief.

She took other measurements and showed me a black spot on the u/s that she said was a pool of blood. She said that bleeding that I had the day before was from this pool and not from the baby, which was a relief to hear. She said it wasn’t extremely big, but it also wasn’t extremely small and it was something that we would need to keep an eye on. The blood would either be absorbed by my body, or expelled, which would be in the form of bleeding or spotting. Just knowing that there was a reason for the bleeding and that there would likely be more definitely helped to ease my concerns. She put me on pelvic rest and told me to take it easy.

She had me get dressed and then we talked about how the office works and the various screening tests that we could do. She gave me a copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” info on the hospital that I will deliver at, and information about all of the doctors at the office. I guess with a heartbeat at 8.5 weeks, they consider you officially pregnant. She also gave me our official due date of February 18th, 2009.

We made an appointment to see the nurse practitioner at 10.5 weeks and also made our appointment for the 12 week NT scan and testing. And that was that. We went to breakfast and it was a completely surreal experience. I just kept repeating over and over again “I can’t believe it, I just can’t believe it.” After so many months of waiting for this to happen, it’s so difficult to actually come to terms with it when it finally does.

But all was well, and I actually was beginning to enjoy my time being pregnant. I knew that we would be vacation for 10 of the next 15 days until our next appointment, so I was sure the time would go quickly. There was no u/s scheduled for our next appointment, but I was really hoping that given my bleeding issue, that we could squeeze a quick one in anyway.

Then came Friday, which brought lots and lots of spotting, though this time it was dark brown. I knew that more bleeding or spotting was likely to happen, but it still caught me off guard. I did my best not to worry and mostly enjoyed the day. By Saturday the spotting was gone and Sunday was spot free too. Monday brought more spotting which was gone by Tuesday, but made yet another reappearance bright and early on Wednesday morning. By that point, I’d had enough. I didn’t want “chance” not being able to have an u/s at our next appointment, so I called the clinic and explained my situation to them and they were able to actually schedule me in for an u/s before my appointment with the NP.

So for the time being, it’s back to being a waiting game, though I am so much more relaxed at this stage of the game. I have an explanation for the spotting, which bring me great comfort. I know that the pool of blood (which she never actually called a subchronic hematoma, but that’s what I’m guessing it is) can put me at a higher risk for complications, but for now I’m not worrying about that. It’s time to enjoy this.

I’m sitting on the balcony of our condo in a beautiful destination in Colorado trying to even begin to comprehend the past few months and everything that has happened. It all feels like a dream to me. Not real. Something that could never happen. I shouldn’t be here.

I am ten weeks pregnant today.

The fact that we have made it this far is absolutely incomprehensible to me. After all of the failures, after all of the disappointment, after all of the heartache, it seemed that nothing good would ever come to us, yet here we find ourselves. In one of our favorite vacation destinations and I’m carrying a baby that has been growing inside of me for nearly eight weeks.

I know of many, many women who say that even though they are pregnant, they can never forget their struggle with infertility and how painful and draining it was. I always thought that I would be one of those women. It seemed impossible to let go of those feelings, no matter how sweet the feeling of eventually becoming pregnant could be. I couldn’t fathom it. But as each day passes, I feel that pain, hopelessness, frustration, and despair slowly fade away into a distant memory. That realization absolutely terrifies me. I’ve known that I’ve been pregnant for just a little over six weeks, and knowing how greatly the pain of infertility has diminished already scares me.

I don’t ever want to forget what a gift this pregnancy is to us. How much we wanted it and how much we were willing to give up in order to achieve it. How much we unintentionally gave up along the way, not knowing if the ultimate outcome would bring us what we wanted. I don’t want to take for granted all that we’ve been through.

But at the same time, I don’t want to be mired in the terrible, terrible place that I was in just a few short months ago. That is a place that I don’t ever want to go to again, and it hurts me so much to see those who are still struggling in the place, trying to get to the other side.

The quickly fading memories of the past two and half years were completely unexpected and are leaving me feeling unbalanced and unsure. I know that I need to find a balance between appreciating where I’m at, while at the same time appreciating where I’ve come from, but I’m really struggling to do that.

I suppose that in the end, it’s more important to live in the moment and enjoy every moment of this pregnancy. I know that I won’t ever completely forget our long journey to get to where we are now, it will always be a part of me and for now I will just have to take solace in knowing that.

Details to follow later, but all is OK. The baby is measuring 8 weeks and 4 days, which is exactly what I am today, so we are thrilled. The u/s tech found a pool of blood next to the gestational sac and determined that was the reason for the bleeding yesterday. She said it’s not extremely large, but not extremely small either, and there will likely be more bleeding to come. Just having an explanation for the bleeding, and also the heads up that there may be more made me feel so much better about everything. I am so thankful and relieved. This is really happening and I could not be happier.

I know I’ve been absent lately. It was pointless attempt at keeping my mind off of things until we got to our next ultrasound, which is tomorrow.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, trying to stay positive and not worry about things too much. I was doing a pretty good job, I think, and was so excited that we have another u/s and I would hopefully get some more reassurance.

That all ended this morning. I got out of bed and said good morning to my husband and dogs. While I was sitting on the couch, I felt what has come to be the familiar sensation of wet underwear, but this time was different than the last four weeks. This time there was a LOT of wetness. I went to the bathroom and even before I evaluated the situation, I felt like it was going to be bad news. My underwear was full of dark red/brown blood, so full, in fact, that it had soaked through to my pajamas.

I told my husband about it and he asked what it meant. I told him that I honestly didn’t know. He asked if I should research it on the internet and I told him that I already knew what I would find: women who had bleeding and miscarried, and those who had bleeding and went on to have happy and healthy pregnancies. I went back and forth about going to urgent care, and ultimately decided to just take a “wait and see approach.” If the bleeding got worse, then it would seem obvious what the outcome would be, and if it didn’t then who knows what’s going on. Either way, I’ll have my answer tomorrow. So far the bleeding has tapered off, but I’m still spotting brown.

Please keep me in your thoughts. I am fearing the worst, but hopeful that I am pleasantly suprised.

Embryos

Baby

Close Up

Heartbeat

Our History

Dec 2006 - Started trying to conceive
Summer 2007 - Semen analysis (great), progesterone test (normal)
Dec 2007 - SHG normal
Jan 2008 - 1st RE appointment
Feb - Mar 2008 - Diagnosed with elevated FSH levels, 2 rounds of IUI with 5mg of Femara
Apr - Jun 2008 - Seeing a new RE. 3 rounds of IUI with 12.5mg of Femara, all busts. HSG normal
July 2008 - Moving on to IVF at a new clinic
Aug/Sep 2008 - 1st IVF cycle - cancelled due to poor response
Nov/Dec 2008 - Retry IVF, transferred one blast and one morula, negative beta
Feb/Mar 2009 - 2nd IVF cycle - Antagonist protocol
May 2009 - 3rd and final attempt at IVF - Antagonist protocol
Feb 18th, 2010 - our One Small Wish comes true: Nina Adele is born.

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