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So I wrote the other day about how we told our co-workers about the pregnancy with an e-mail saying that we’re celebrating and to come on over and get a cupcake. Next to the cupcakes I had put a note saying how we’re having a baby due in February 2010. It was the perfect solution for not having to actually speak the words “I’m pregnant.”

Except it didn’t quite work that way for one co-worker. She got the e-mail and before she grabbed a cupcake, which were sitting just a few feet away from my desk, she stopped at my desk and asked “What are we celebrating?” Before I could suggest that she grab a cupcake and find out, a guy who sits about 10 feet away said “She’s pregnant.”

Oh.My.God. Hearing him say those words absolutely took my breath away. It shocked me. It surprised me. It didn’t seem real that he could be saying those words in reference to me. It was as if it were the first time that it actually hit me that yes, I AM pregnant, and yes, I AM going to have a baby.

I remember the first time we saw our baby on the ultrasound with its little heart beating away. Tears sprang to my eyes and I was in awe. That’s OUR baby, I thought. And every other time we’ve seen our baby it still blows me away that there is, in fact, a baby growing inside of me.

But even those live, moving images of our baby doing flips and mini sit-ups didn’t have the same effect on me that hearing someone actually say out loud that I am pregnant did. The confirmation by someone who wasn’t a doctor, nurse, u/s tech or family hit me in an entirely unexpected way. The realization that what I’ve been living for the past 13 weeks is actually reality hit me hard and left me speechless.

I find myself feeling like I shouldn’t be here. That this was never supposed to happen for us. We never should have been so lucky to have finally achieved a healthy pregnancy. It just can’t possibly be true and be happening to us. But it is. My belly isn’t only growing because I’m eating like a mad woman…it’s also growing because there is a tiny little baby in there. And for that I will be forever grateful, whether I can believe it or not.

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I think that I’ve mentioned in the past that telling people that I’m pregnant has actually been a terrifying prospect for me. A part of me really enjoyed having a secret that very few people other than us knew. It was fun and it was ours. But beyond just having our own little secret, I was really, really nervous to tell people. I’m sure that a lot of those nerves and fear stems from all that we’ve had to go through to get to this point and I was afraid that people would ask me questions that would make me uncomfortable or would put me in an awkward position. We hadn’t told anyone other than two of my friends and both of our parents about our infertility struggles, so the entire process of conceiving a baby has, for the most part, been one huge secret. For two and a half years, it’s been such a huge part of my life that the thought of letting all of our friends, family and co-workers know that I’m pregnant felt like losing a big important part of who I’ve become.

I kept putting the announcement off for one reason or another. Mark was ready to tell people around 10 weeks, but I really wanted to wait until after our NT scan, just for that extra reassurance. Then after the scan I wanted to wait until the blood work portion came back normal, which was another week. Even then I still wasn’t really ready to announce it to the world, but regardless of my fears and nerves, the time had come. We couldn’t put it off any longer.

There were two significant family events (a family reunion and an 80th birthday party) on Mark’s side that we felt were great opportunities to tell family that we don’t often see. Those went pretty well, with the news starting with one person and eventually just kind of making its way around to others, so it wasn’t really a barrage of people all finding out at the same time. And it WAS uncomfortable for me. Apparently I must have either looked fat or maybe my big, baggy shirt gave me away, but before we had even been at the reunion for 5 minutes, and without us knowing, one of Mark’s aunts asked Mark’s dad if I was pregnant and he confirmed it. We sat down as Mark’s aunt was leaving the table and Mark’s dad told us what had just happened. She came back after lunch and slyly asked us when we were going to have a baby, as if it just occurred to her out of the blue. I just stared at Mark and waited for him to say something and he eventually said “February!” Of course she feigned surprise, though she seemed genuinely delighted, and thus the news started to spread. And I was hit with all of the questions that I dreaded having to answer. How are you feeling? Are you tired? Are you sick? Will you find out the sex?

After spending two and a half years hiding what we’d been going through, all of these questions felt like a huge intrusion of my privacy. And I know that most any woman who easily conceived wouldn’t think twice about all the questions, and may even be thrilled to be the center of attention, my reaction was the opposite. I just wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. I think that my fear of saying more than I wanted to played a part in that, but I’ve also noticed that I’ve become a much more shy and conservative person over the past few years. Whereas in the past I would have loved all of the attention, now I just shy away from it.

But like I said, the news spread somewhat slowly, so it was just one or two people at a time coming over to congratulate us and ask questions. Telling our co-workers was anything but that.

In hindsight, I really set myself up for exactly what I got in the end. Like I said, I’m not thrilled about having to “announce” anything, and the thought of just saying to my co-workers one day “Guess what! I’m pregnant!” didn’t really appeal to me. So I stole Polly’s idea and made a couple of batches of pink and blue cupcakes to use to make our announcement. The plan was to bring in the cupcakes, send out an e-mail to key co-workers saying that we brought in cupcakes because we were celebrating and then having a sign next to the cupcakes explaining that we’re having a baby. I thought it was such a great idea; I wouldn’t have to actually TELL anyone that I’m pregnant and that people would drift by throughout the day to get their cupcake and all would be good.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Apparently people REALLY like cupcakes! Within two minutes of sending out the e-mail there were at least 10 people standing outside my cube all talking and asking questions. It was the exact opposite of what I had expected, which, had I reflected further on my great plan, I would have figured out. While it wasn’t what I had expected, it actually worked out alright. Since nearly everyone came over within the first 5-10 minutes, I got most of the attention and questions out of the way early and was free to relax for the rest of the day.

There are a couple friends yet who don’t know, and we’re making plans to tell them within the next week or so, but for the most part everyone knows now. I do feel better about not having to hide anymore, like a small weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, but part of me will always miss having our little secret.

Let me preface this post by saying that this will in no way, shape or form be a mushy post about pregnancy and it will not reflect my emotional feelings about being pregnant whatsoever. This post is just for fun.

And speaking of fun, my all time favorite aspect of being pregnant is my new found fun bags. Yes, I said fun bags.

Let’s start with a little background. I have never been well endowed in the boobie department, and please don’t mistake what I mean when I say that. When I say not well endowed, I don’t mean B’s or even large A’s, like some of you larger chested women might think. No, I fall more in to the pre-teen category when we talk about the ta-tas. Yes, for years I lived in bras from the “Thank Goodness It Fits!” line labeled “Nearly A.” How demeaning, really, to have to buy bras from a line called “Thank Goodness It Fits!” Thank Goodness indeed, because if THOSE bras didn’t fit, I’d surely have to go into the GIRLS department to find ones that did. Every once in a while I’d find a bra that I liked (and more importantly FIT) and I’d stock up in every color they had because who knew how long it would be before I’d find another bra that actually fit me. Along those lines, I’ve been living in 8 different colors of the exact same style of bra for nearly 4 years now.

I remember in the 6th grade one of my friends came up to me and told me a joke with a punch line of “then why is your front as flat as your back?” which she followed up by noting that the joke wasn’t directed at me, it was just a funny joke. But how I could I take it as NOT being directed at me? I was flat as a board with no signs of that ever changing. As I grew older, I kept waiting and waiting for some sort of something to happen, but repeatedly found myself sorely disappointed. Finally by the end of high school I came to the sad realization that I was just stuck with what I had, which wasn’t much. And what an unfair hand to be dealt, when both my mom and sister wear D or larger cups. When I was in middle school mom put a few of the bras that my sister outgrew when she was younger into my dresser for “when I needed them.” Yup, never needed them. I’d try them on occasionally and think about what it would be like to actually have something to fill them out with, but obviously that time never came.

During the course of our two and a half year struggle to get pregnant, I often dreamed of the day that those pregnancy hormones would take over my body and hopefully add some inches to my upper torso. Well I’m finally living the dream! I knew that the girls were growing a couple weeks after my positive test, but it didn’t seem to be anything too impressive and I just chalked it up to the PIO I was taking. When we were in Colorado a couple of weeks later, I put on a tank top that while low cut was also still conservative since I never had anything even remotely close to cleavage. Well all of the sudden said tank top revealed a lot more than it ever did before. My husband, who is 100% a boob man (though he’ll never admit it) was thrilled. I was thrilled. We were thrilled together.

While my current lineup of 8 bras still fit, they are starting to get a bit tight in the band, so I decided to check out my options this weekend. I started off with a 36A in a brand that I’ve had success with in the past. Holy cow! Instant décolletage! While the profile looked nothing less than absolutely stunning to me, the darn thing was just too small. My boobs were overflowing out the top of the bra and there was no way it would be anywhere near decent with an actual shirt on. OK, no problem, it’s probably just this style of bra that isn’t working for me. On to bra number two. Same problem. Boobies are hanging out the top, smooshed down by the top of the bra. I’m dumfounded. Really. I don’t feel like the girls have grown THAT much over the last couple of months that I would go up over a whole cup size, but it appears that is exactly what has happened. I know that they’re bigger, I just didn’t realize how much bigger.

So it was back out to the lingerie department to pick up the same bras in a 36B and start all over again. This time there was more success, though I was still encountering some of the “overflowing” issues that I was with the A’s. Not wanting to even consider the fact that I could possibly be a C cup, I stuck with the ones that fit me from that batch and left the store with a whole new wardrobe of bras in hand.

Now those of you who are well endowed may not comprehend what a life changing thing this is for me. My flat chestedness has always been a self confidence killer for me. I have never felt womanly or sexy or even remotely confident in my physical appearance as a grown woman. I have always been self conscious about my body and how others perceive me.

My increased bust has me feeling like a new, confident, sexy, desirable woman. I keep saying to my husband “It’s like I have real boobs now!” I feel like I’m finally a woman in a woman’s body, not a woman trapped in a pre-teen’s body. I absolutely love it. I love the way I look, I love how the way I look makes me feel and I love that my husband loves it. We’re all around a happy family.

Oh, except there is one small catch. I’m on pelvic rest. Awesome. I’ve got crazy pregnancy hormones making me more “interested” than I’ve ever been in my life, big, giant (to me) and fantastically sensitive (in a good way) boobies to be played with, a sky high self confidence level, and a general feeling of sexiness and I can’t even get some nookie? Come on… Life is so unfair sometimes.

As is usual, all my worry was for naught…well so far, at least. Baby is measuring right on target, heart rate has dropped down to 155 bpm, just as it should and the NT measurement was 1.6, which is within normal range. So far so good. My clinic operates on a “no news is good news” policy, which I absolutely detest, by the way, so if we hear nothing by the middle of the week, we can assume that the risks are minimal.

Today we got to see our baby moving around and even putting its hand to its face which we assumed was the baby sucking its thumb. Next up? Good question. It occurred to me a couple of days ago that I don’t have any appointments set up. I’m not sure how that happened, but I should probably call and set something up, huh?

Ok, try to follow along with my thought process here.

As mother ages, her egg quality decreases
The risk of Down Syndrome goes up with mother’s age
Therefore the risk of down syndrome has to be linked to egg quality

Right?

I’m really, really nervous about our NT scan tomorrow for the above reasoning. In the words of my RE, I have “junky eggs” and I’m absolutely terrified that my junky eggs have put us at a much higher risk of conceiving a baby with Down Syndrome than your average 30 year old. I’ve gone from worrying about the baby having died in utero (which is no longer a worry thanks to the reassurance of the Doppler) to worrying about our baby having some kind of chromosomal abnormality.

I can’t seem to shake this worry.

Obviously the spotting and bleeding that I’ve experienced have been less than desirable, but for the most part, this pregnancy has gone perfectly so far. For all of the good that we’ve experienced, it seems like we’re due for something bad to happen. For so long it’s been our reality that nothing ever goes our way and now it’s so hard for me to believe that things can work out just like they should, that everything can be OK in the end. It’s so difficult for me to fathom that not everything has to be traumatic and upsetting and because of that it seems impossible that tomorrow could have a good outcome.

And there are small “incidences” running through my mind that stress me out even more than just my worry about my junky eggs.

On two separate occasions, two different u/s techs have asked me if I’m having the 1st trimester screening done. I’m sure it was just a question, based mostly out of curiosity, but in the back of my head I’m convinced that there is a reason why they are asking. Did they see something on one of my many scans that just didn’t look normal and they want me to come in to check on it in more detail?

At one of our recent scans the tech turned on the 3D feature and said in surprise “Oh wow! Look at that cord!” I wonder what in the world she meant by that. She’s done hundreds, probably thousands of scans in her lifetime. What was it that was so phenomenal about our baby’s cord that caused her to exclaim “Oh wow!”

It seems that I just can’t stop the worry. While I hope more than anything that our baby is just fine and that our risk of any chromosomal issues is very low, I know that even those results won’t stop me from worrying. I know those who have gone before me state that the worry never stops; that there is always something new to worry about and it doesn’t get any better once the baby is born…it will continue on for the rest of my life. It seems overwhelming at times. But for now, my focus is getting past today’s worry; to get through tomorrow and keep moving forward. It seems that’s all I can do at this point.

Yesterday I experienced something brand spanking new to me…an abdominal ultrasound.

Yes, the bleeding/spotting is still a part of my life. I naively thought I may have beaten it after going spot free from Friday through Monday, but woke up Tuesday morning to more red blood. Not a whole bunch, but red and I had mild cramps too, so I decided to call the doctor and see if I could get in. I walked into the u/s room and the tech (the one I hadn’t met before) told me to have a seat on the table. What? Shouldn’t I go and change first? I thought maybe she was just going to go over my history first or something, then send me off to the bathroom to empty my bladder and change into my sheet. Nope. She says “let’s try and abdominal u/s first and see if we can figure it out without doing an internal.” Huh? It was like a foreign language to me.

So she gave a towel to tuck into my pants, squirted the jelly on my belly and off we went. And you could see our baby without having an electrical device shoved up my hoo-ha! Crazy! Who knew it was even possible? Actually, I’m guessing most fertiles don’t know that an internal u/s device even exists, so I suppose I’m probably in the minority here. Anyway, we could see the baby and it’s heartbeat nice and strong in the upper 170’s as usual. She started moving around looking for the bleeds, but the picture wasn’t too great, so she decided to switch to the internal anyway, which was fine by me. Crazy as it sounds, I actually prefer it…it gives a much clearer picture when the baby is so small and you can see a lot more detail. Before she switched to the internal wand, she took a photo of the baby’s profile and it’s pretty grainy and undefined. I’m guessing that it probably would have been better had my bladder been fuller, but I wasn’t expecting an abdominal u/s and had just gone to the bathroom before we left for the doctor’s office.

She had me change, she switched over to the wand and there was the baby again. She showed me my cervix and the placenta, which was interesting as the other tech had never pointed those things out to me. She couldn’t find any new bleeds, which was a relief and said that as the baby grows the one bleed at the top of my uterus will likely just get squished and will resolve itself. The other one was a bit smaller, but still there. So no new news, just the same old, same old.

She asked if we’d talked to any of the doctors about things yet and I explained how we were supposed to but then there was the dental emergency and the other doctor was running an hour behind because of it. So she offered to get one of the doctors and have them come in to talk to me.

Guess who showed up? Yup. Dr. Ass Clown.

I know, I know. I promised that once I finally did get pregnant that I would find myself a new OB/GYN, but I never really researched it before I got pregnant and then once I was, I wasn’t sure how well a brand new doctor would feel about me sending in orders from my RE for my first couple of scans. So I stuck with Dr. Ass Clown’s practice. And for as much as I despise Dr. Ass Clown, I’m really digging everyone else at the practice. I am so thankful for how willing they are to get me in with no questions asked when I’m bleeding and worried. I mentioned this to the u/s tech and she said that she’s really impressed with the practice in that respect because a lot of practices are not like that. She said they are always willing to see someone if they feel uncomfortable with things, even if it’s just to listen to the heartbeat real quick. And that’s something that is invaluable to me as an infertility patient. As such, it’s not something that I’m willing to give up at this point. I love that they are so caring and understanding and make me a priority.

But then there’s Dr. Ass Clown. I told my husband as we were walking to our car that every time I see him I hate him more and more. Reason being? He kind of plays down my concerns, makes me feel like a hypochondriac for asking questions and doesn’t ever really provide any real information. I asked him a few simple questions yesterday (are these internal bleeds sub chronic hemotomas or something else? Do the bleeds put me at a higher risk for something going wrong, like a placental abruption? Is there anything that I’m doing that I shouldn’t be doing or is something I’m doing causing this?) and he didn’t really give me any answers at all. He just tends to talk around the subject and say things that will give you the warm fuzzies. Which, I’m sure, some patients like. I, however, do not. I’m an info hound. I want to know the details, and I want to know what I’m dealing with, not just that “25% of women bleed during pregnancy.” If you don’t know the answer, then tell me you don’t know the answer, don’t just talk around the subject. Ugh, I’m getting anxious and upset just writing about it, so I’m going to stop.

Bottom line is that I really feel like I’d like to get farther along in this pregnancy before switching to another OB or midwife. In the meantime I will try to schedule my appointments with the three other OB’s there in hopes of just completely avoiding Dr. Ass Clown until I make some decisions on where our long term care will be.

So yesterday’s appointment yielded no new internal bleeds, a happily beating heart and another few days of reassurance. I’m really hoping that I can make it until next Tuesday without any serious bleeding incidents. It would be great to keep the ultrasounds to only one a week. :o)

I realize that I’ve not been very good at updating after appointments, which is something that I kind of regret because it would be nice to document all of the details and feelings while things are still fresh in my mind, but something is keeping me from doing it. I think that I am still very protective of this pregnancy and maybe feeling just a little bit selfish about wanting to keep the experience all for myself and my husband. And I’m still not wanting to “get ahead of myself” with everything, should anything bad happen and documenting everything still feels a bit like playing with fire… I just don’t want to get too excited and then get burned in the end.

But for now I’m ready to share the events of last week. We had our 10.5 week appointment set to meet with the NP and have a physical, and as I mentioned before, I also managed to squeeze in another u/s due to all of the spotting that I’d been having. I wasn’t super concerned that anything would be wrong, I was more just curious to see if all of the spotting meant that the sub chronic hemotoma (SCH) has decreased in size. The u/s tech said that it did look smaller, but it’s hard to tell exactly how much smaller since it had completely changed in shape. Everything else looked good, baby was measuring right on track and the heartbeat was in the 170’s.

We then met with a nurse who took our medical histories and then the NP came in to give me my physical and pap. I was a bit disheartened with she said that my pelvic bones are a bit “flat” which means that I may have difficulties giving birth vaginally. She didn’t rule out a vaginal birth, but said we’d “have to see what the powers of labor can do.” Again, not what I wanted to hear.

I was scheduled to meet with one of the four doctors at the practice, but she had a dental emergency, so we weren’t able to meet her. They offered to have me meet with my regular GYN, which we said was fine, then found of five minutes later that he was running an hour behind due to having to cover for the other doctor. So we didn’t get to see a doctor at all that day, which seemed fine at the time, but in retrospect, I wish that we’d had the opportunity to talk to someone about the SCH and what, if anything, it means with respect to the pregnancy. We left the office feeling good about everything and looking forward to our next u/s in two weeks.

The confident feeling was extremely short lived. In the middle of the next night, I got up to go to the bathroom and found the toilet full of red blood, with red blood on the tissue as well. I wasn’t cramping, so I wasn’t in full on panic mode, but it was a lot of blood which had me significantly worried. The next morning I hemmed and hawed about calling the doctor, not wanting to be one of “those” patients, but did end up calling first thing. They were able to get us in immediately for and u/s which was much appreciated. Right away the u/s tech found the baby and we saw it do a little flip for us…absolutely amazing! It was the first time we’d seen it move and immediately put our minds at east. We listened to the heartbeat which was in the 170’s again and the baby continued to measure right on target. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the feeling of relief that seeing our tiny baby brings me.

As for the bleeding? Within the span of the day and a half since our last u/s, I’d developed yet another hemorrhage. This one was much smaller than the first, though the tech was a little perplexed since it was near the top of the uterus and she would have expected any bleeding from that hemorrhage to be brown (due to the amount time it would take to move through my body), not red. Once again, we left feeling relieved and confident again.

I immediately e-mailed my friend who had borrowed a Doppler from yet another friend and asked her if I could pick it up soon. We made arrangements and I picked it up that night and put it to use right away. My husband happened to be away when I got it and I knew that searching for the heartbeat might make him upset since I wasn’t sure if we’d even be able to find it, so I gave it a go without him. It took a while, but I eventually found the heartbeat, nice and high in the 170’s again. And, as luck would have it, he walked in the door just then. Of course I‘m sure I was quite the sight to see…all slouched over the couch with my pants around my ankles and a bunch of blue goo all over my bikini line. He gave me the craziest look and I just said “that’s the heartbeat!!!”

I’m not 100% certain about the safety of using a Doppler every day, but for now, it’s what’s keeping me sane with all of the spotting, and I’ll take what I can get at this point. We’ve listened every night just for a few seconds just to put our mind at ease, and I am so grateful for the ability to do so.

As for the title of the post? I have officially started the countdown to the end of my meds. I put my very last estrogen patch on this morning and I have only two more progesterone shots left to do. I shouldn’t say this because I’ll probably jinx it and end up with a couple of bruisers, but as of right now, I really can’t complain about the PIO shots. Everyone told me that I’d be so sore at the end of the shots, but for now I feel really good. Sure, I’ve had a few shots that didn’t go super great and left me sore for a day or two, but I don’t have any of the lingering pain or numbness that seem to be so common with prolonged PIO usage. I will count myself as very, very fortunate in that regard. Stopping the supplemental meds with make this pregnancy seem even that much more real. I’m so grateful for how far we’ve come; at so many times it seemed like we’d never get to 12 weeks and yet here it is, only two days away.

It still feels like a dream and I don’t believe it at times. But it is real and even though it’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around sometimes, there is not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for all we’ve been given.

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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