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It seems that at some point nearly every infertility-turned-pregnancy blog that I’ve ever read has a reflective post about how different things are this year versus last year at the same time. Generally speaking, I try to avoid blogging about subjects that have been written about by the vast majority of the infertility blogosphere because most bloggers are simply better writers than I am and can more eloquently put into words the emotions that are so common in this community. Having said that, this is one subject that I simply cannot pass up; not because I think I can write about it better than or even as well anyone else, but because I feel the need to put it all down for myself.

Two and a half weeks ago, our company had our annual holiday party and as much as I tried to, there was no avoiding the comparisons between this year and last. Last year I had just had my first retrieval for IVF the day before the party, and the day of the party I learned that we only had 3 embryos from the 19 eggs they had retrieved. I was still shocked and grieving from the terrible results of the fertilization report and was not really in any mood to party. On top of it all, I had to figure out how to do my very first intramuscular shot just prior to the party. I distinctly remember my husband anxiously pacing, not because of the looming progesterone shot, but because he was ready to go to the party and didn’t want to be late. Meanwhile I stood in the bathroom sweaty, nervous and absolutely terrified of shoving that huge needle into my backside. The resulting gushing blood, fantastic bruise and crazy sore leg muscle that got only worse as the night went on and had me hobbling around like a gimp at the end of the night let me know that I most definitely did not execute the injection properly. It would have been the perfect time to throw back a few drinks and really enjoy myself, but instead I was one of a select few sober people, hoping and wishing that in two short weeks it would all be worth it.

As the days passed I paid close attention to my body, desperately wishing that it would send some sign that one of our two little embryos was making itself comfortable inside of me. The sign never came and I knew in my heart that it didn’t work and the negative pregnancy test on Christmas Eve confirmed it. Despite the disappointment of not being pregnant, I was able to enjoy my holiday and was actually quite thankful for the distraction that all of the family gatherings provided. It wasn’t until all of the holiday festivities were over that I told my husband the bad news, and that’s when the gravity of the situation finally hit me. Seeing him so disappointed was much harder than seeing that negative test, more difficult than I could have imagined. Knowing I was not pregnant meant I could eat of all of the goodies that I had been avoiding and drink alcohol again, which I took full advantage of on New Year’s Eve. My husband and I drowned our sorrows in naughty food and lots of alcohol and had a fantastically fabulous party with all of our friends. The new year was certain to bring more happiness than 2008.

And I ended up being right; this year did bring more happiness to us than last year did. I took us half of the year to get what we wanted, and that first half of the year was extremely difficult on many levels, but we are finally right where we wanted to be.

This year, as I was preparing for our company’s holiday party, the part that nearly made us late was not determining where to thrust an enormous needle, it was trying to find a dress that sufficiently covered my rapidly expanding baby belly. This year I didn’t have wine, not because it could interfere with implantation, but because I’m actually pregnant and there is a little person growing inside of me. This year I danced because I wasn’t in pain from having a needle poked through my vaginal walls and into my ovaries and no sore leg from a botched attempt at an injection. This year I fielded a seemingly endless line of questions about how I was feeling and if I was excited and when I was due. This year my big belly and I were complemented more than once as being “too cute.” This year I marveled at the little girl squirming around inside of me as I watched my husband and friends enjoying themselves on the dance floor.

This year at Christmas there was no need to try to smile through the disappointment of a failed IVF cycle. This year I was able to give my husband a present from our daughter he was able to give me a gift for her. This year we received presents for our daughter at both Christmas and at a surprise baby shower at one of the family Christmas celebrations. This year various family members sat with me with their hands on my belly and felt our baby kicking, punching and wriggling about inside of me. This year nearly all of our farewells ended with “good luck with the baby and we can’t wait to meet her!” This year we daydreamed of next year, when we will celebrate our first Christmas with our little girl.

What a difference a year makes. I truly hope that the same holds true for the upcoming year, for all of us.


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I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve only taken 2 belly pictures of myself this pregnancy. I can’t really pinpoint why we haven’t done it, and I’m beginning to feel like it’s going to be something that I really regret not doing, especially if this ends up being my only pregnancy. Obviously I see myself in the mirror several times a day, and I’m usually pretty surprised by how big I’m getting, but I guess I always felt like I was kind of on the smaller side of normal. People generally seem surprised when I tell them how far along I am, or when I’m due, saying that I look much smaller than they’d expect. In fact, just the other night at book club a woman asked me and another friend who is due about 7 weeks after me which one of us was due first, and without waiting for an answer said “I’m guessing you” and nodded in my friend’s direction. To be fair, she’s having her second baby, and she’s super tiny to begin with, so her belly is more noticeable on her smaller frame, but I would have never thought that I looked “less pregnant” than her.

So it came as a shock to me when my dad posted photos of our local family Christmas celebration on Facebook the other day and I saw just how big I actually am. I am really, truly, definitely, unmistakably pregnant. I know, I know. I sound like a broken record. But it’s really something that I still can’t wrap my mind completely around. It’s something that people around me just accept for what it is, but for me, it seems like I’m constantly having reality checks and no matter how many times I get the same result (yup, I’m still pregnant) I still can’t quite believe it. I always wanted to believe that I would be pregnant eventually, but I’m not sure that I ever actually truly felt it would happen for us. I did my best to convince myself that it would happen, you know, the power of positive thinking, but it just seemed like such a long shot. Something for other people to experience, not me.

And in some ways, I think my inability to functionally come to terms with the fact that this is reality has made the entire thing more meaningful for me. Every time I feel her kick or change positions, every time I glimpse myself in a reflective surface, every time I have a contraction I feel a sense of excitement like I did when I saw two pink lines on my pregnancy test. I am simultaneously reminded of and surprised by how lucky I am and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I had to pick up some essentials the other day, so I headed over to my local Wal-Mart (yes, I shop at Wal-Mart for basic items, don’t hate me for it). On my way to the back of the store I passed by a display table of long sleeved shirts that were marked down to $5 each, which was not a super stellar deal since they were only $8 to begin with, but I’m a sucker for inexpensive clothes, so I stopped to take a look. I picked up one of the shirts, unfolded it and saw that it was a nice generous length, definitely long enough to fit over my rapidly expanding belly. My wardrobe is well stocked with short sleeved shirts that still fit, but I could use a few extra long sleeved ones since the temperatures are beginning to drop around here, so I hunted around until I found an extra large and threw it in my cart, happy with my $5 find.

It wasn’t until I went to put my new shirt on this morning that I realized that it is branded by Miley Cyrus. I’m pretty sure that Miley has absolutely no intentions of having her line of clothes worn by pregnant women. In fact, I’m willing to guess that it was the exact opposite of her plans. What would Miley, role model for countless young girls, think knowing that her shirts are actually perfect maternity shirts?

In other, more relevant news, we had our 32 week appointment yesterday. My clinic is different in that they don’t do an anatomy/anomaly scan at 20 weeks like most others do, instead opting to wait until 32 weeks and check everything then. So we went in to our appointment knowing that we would get to see a lot of our little girl yesterday. Our clinic also does has one of those fancy 4D ultrasound machines, so we were looking forward to getting a sneak peek at her little face.

The good news is that she looks absolutely perfect. Everything measured right on target, with a few things measuring a week or so ahead. The u/s tech estimates her at 4 pounds right now and puts her in the 56% percentile for size. She said the average birth weight is around 7.5 pounds, so she estimates that if I go to term, she will be right around that size too. Our baby girl is currently breech and folded in half, with her head and feet below my right ribs and her butt near my left hip. I guess now I know that the hard lump that sticks out of my right side occasionally is in fact her head, and not her butt/elbow/foot like I had thought it might be. We were very happy to see and hear that everything looks great.

We were disappointed, however, to find that she is facing my spine, which meant no pictures of her face. Because of her positioning the tech was unable to get a few measurements that she needed, so we’ll take another peek at my next appointment in two weeks to see if she’s moved and get the missing info if she has. I’m hoping that maybe she’ll have moved to a better position by then, but I won’t be too upset if we don’t get that sneak peek. It will make meeting her next year all the more interesting.

A few weeks ago a co-worker of mine came into the kitchen at work and after exchanging pleasantries, asked me if he could have my baby. I’d heard from my husband who worked in the same department as him that he had made a few comments about how he and his wife were trying to have a baby and how he had to go to “fertility doctor” (his words, not my husband’s) with her sometimes. This was the first person that I knew of (outside of my support group) who was struggling or had struggled with infertility and I wanted to help in any way that I could. Of course he didn’t know that my husband had told me about their troubles, so I couldn’t just bring it up out of the blue. I simply said “what?” He said that his wife wanted a baby and it would make her happy, so could he have ours? I didn’t really know how to ease my way into the whole subject of infertility, so I asked him if she wouldn’t rather have his baby instead?

Just as he was telling me that they’d been “having some troubles in that department” in walked another co-worker. While I was more than willing to discuss what we’d been through with this guy, I wasn’t necessarily interested in sharing it with the other random co-worker who had just joined us. I told him that I was sorry to hear that they were having issues and left it at that. He said that they were probably going to try to adopt a Jamaican baby soon and I wished him good luck with that.

I felt awful. Absolutely awful. I’m certain that he just assumes that getting pregnant was easy for us, as it is for most people. Murgdan over at Conceive This wrote about the “Infertility Closet” as a guest post on Fertility Authority a few weeks ago. For the most part, we are very nearly entirely in the infertility closet. Both of our parents know and my sister too, and a few select friends of mine. None of our “couple” friends know (or we haven’t told any of them, at least), and none of our co-workers either. And for the most part, I’m happy with our decision to keep our situation private. Not because I’m embarrassed or afraid to talk about it with people. Truth be told, I love talking about infertility, but with people who can relate on some level to what I’ve been through. When in the midst of all of the heartache that infertility brings, it’s hard to share your emotions with people who don’t know where you’re coming from, and difficult for them to understand and support you.

And even more important to me personally, is the added pressure of other people knowing what you’re going through. The seemingly endless questions of “how are things going,” “when is your next appointment,” “did your last cycle work?” I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle answering all of those questions over and over again and that was the main driver behind not telling people what we were dealing with. As it was, my mother in law was most interested in the details of our cycles and when things were happening. Fortunately my husband fielded all of those phone calls; I’m not sure how I would have handled it if she was asking me and not him. It just felt like a lot more pressure piled on to an already tense situation, not to mention the difficulty of having to tell everyone when things didn’t work out. In fact, I never even told my parents that our second transfer didn’t work…I just didn’t want to deal with it, so I completely ignored it. It’s hard enough to come to terms with a failed cycle without having to deal with telling other people about it.

For myself, I felt and continue to feel good about our decision to not tell many people, especially as the months went by and we were seemingly no closer to having a baby. Now that I am finally pregnant and will hopefully be bringing a baby home in just a couple of months, I am much more open to the idea of discussing what we’ve been through with others. I know from personal experience that having real life people who can relate to what you’re going through can be a life saver sometimes. I don’t like the thought of others assuming that our pregnancy was easily achieved. Even more than that, I hate the thought that there are other women out there who might need a support system and aren’t receiving the fantastic outpouring of support that I had. I would love to be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on for someone who’s in need. I would love to let someone else know that they aren’t alone, even though they may feel as though they are the only one going through this.

The same coworker and his wife came over to me at our company holiday party on Friday and she started asking me about the baby and when I was due and how I was feeling. I felt horrible, having at least a vague idea of what she’s going through and answering her questions as if my pregnancy was something I took for granted. There’s really no way to let people know that you understand what they’re going through without getting into the gory details, and really, a holiday party with a loud DJ is no place for that kind of discussion.

But the thing is that once you say something, you can’t take it back. If I were to tell this coworker or his wife our history, I could never un-tell it. And I think that for the most part, I’d be OK with that. There could be some potential for downsides in the future, but I think that the potential for good far outweighs the potential for bad. So for now, I’ll remain in the closet, but I’m willing to come out for the the right person or situation.

What about you? Are you in or out of the infertility closet and how do you feel about your decision?

Today marks 29 weeks of pregnancy. I noticed the other night that I have no ankle definition anymore, to the point that if you were to look at my ankles, you literally could not pinpoint where my ankle bone is. It came on suddenly and is probably due to the 4 hours of time I spent on airplanes on Tuesday night. We flew down to Florida to spend a week with Mark’s parents in Florida. Our last hurrah before the baby arrives, if you will. So combine the time on the plane along with lots of walking the past two days, and my ankles are completely unrecognizable to me.

Also unrecognizable to me is my suddenly huge belly. It seems to have really popped within the past couple of weeks and there is absolutely no denying that I’m pregnant. Today, for the very first time, I wore what I considered to be a true maternity shirt. You know the kind…all cinched up above the belly and flowing from the cinch on down. Holy cow. Somehow I seem to have gone from “you look pretty small for “x” weeks” to “holy huge belly.” It’s been kind of strange to go from ambiguously pregnant to unmistakably pregnant so quickly and I find myself admiring my big ole belly in the mirror for minutes on end. I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later, and it actually makes me feel somewhat better about the more than 30 pounds that I’ve put on already.

Gaining over 30 pounds and not having ankles anymore are sacrifices that I am so happy that I have the opportunity to make. I would gladly make them every day for years to come for our little girl.

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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