October 2, 2014

EARLY PREGNANCY NOTES

Here is a record of some notes I took while early in my pregnancy. You'll find my most recent entries at the bottom. It's all pretty candid and unedited, so beware of typos and rambling.

8/3/14:

I am officially 9 weeks today! Though it feels like it's been eternity, I just can't believe we are already 9 weeks in. I want to keep a record of how things have been going so far, so I'll try to summarize what's been happening up until this point.

After our last miscarriage in March, Cam and I had been prayerfully discussing when we would start trying again. At first, we felt we should wait through the summer and aim for fall. It would give my body more time to adjust back to normal and most importantly, emotionally recover. I was not ready to lose another baby anytime soon. However, things took a different turn in June. My cycle was finally back to normal and I felt stronger physically. It was also the month I tried using an ovulation kit for the first time. It was supposed to be a "practice month" for me, since my specialist recommended I understand when exactly I ovulated in order to take progesterone earlier the next time we tried.

Just some background info: after our third miscarriage, I was told that I was more likely than not to have a healthy pregnancy next time. All of our test results came back normal. Of course, this was the greatest news. But, after losing our fourth baby with no explanation again, we were devastated and weren't really sure how things looked for the future. Our specialist said I could still have issues with my hormones, genetic problems (with my eggs), or other abnormalities with my uterus that they were not able to detect with the two different exams I had done. Of course, he explained all of this in technical terms and really, technology could only tell us so much. 

Our options were to try progesterone again, and I actually suggested if it were possible to take it earlier the next time we tried. He agreed this would help, but since progesterone supplements can mess with ovulation, it was important to make sure to take it after. Hence, the testing kit. Anyway, if we miscarried again after that and the baby was developed enough, we'd test further for genetic issues. If there were problems there, we'd need to look into IVF options. If that doesn't work, we are likely looking at an abnormal uterus with no possibilities for surgery. Aka: we'd be out of luck.

Alright, enough with the medical stuff.

Everything lining up to the decision to try for another baby that month is really difficult to explain in words. It's really something special when you bring another person into the decisions you make as a couple. It changes everything. It wasn't just about us anymore. I've felt this way each time we have tried to get pregnant. Once I saw the little smiley face on the ovulation test indicating the peak LH surge, thoughts of another baby came. If there was a baby waiting, I didn't know how long I would have with them, and that was scary to me. To me, it was simply a matter of prayer and pondering. Later that day, I had several spiritual experiences. They were, of course, very simple and small. But as history shows, this is the way Heavenly Father speaks to me personally. I came to Cam with my thoughts. He was indifferent, but willing to pray more about it. Obviously, we didn't have much time to decide, but a feeling of peace and reassurance came quickly. We felt good to just try and see what happens. If we didn't get pregnant, then that would be okay. I took the progesterone a few days later, just in case.

Incredibly, nine days later, I found myself gaping at a positive home pregnancy test. This was the first good sign. It was amazing that I found out that early (I might have been just a little impatient). I messaged my specialist immediately and we did some blood work. At 3 weeks 2 days, my HCG was at 88. 40 hours later, it was at 208. It more than doubled! Hearing numbers so high brought me so much comfort. I thanked Heavenly Father over and over. It felt too good to be true.

Despite all of the positive signs, the anxiety increased. I worried I wasn't creating the perfect environment for my baby. I stressed because of my stress! I kept letting myself slip into a negative place--just expecting something terrible to happen again. Any little pain, symptom, or lack of symptoms made me panic. With recurrent pregnancy loss, you're so happy and terrified all at once. Not a very stable way to live. I started having these attacks at night where I would cry uncontrollably and gasp for air--fearing that there was something wrong with my baby.

It was then when we decided to tell a few more people for prayers and positive support. Not only for us, but specifically for our baby. I felt a weight being lifted after more people knew. The prayers were truly helping.

At 6 1/2 weeks, I was able to come in for a "viability ultrasound" (I hate that term) with my specialist. They would be looking at a few main things here: 1) is the baby in the uterus? 2) Can we detect a heartbeat? and 3) is the baby the right size and development? 

I had a little fit in the parking lot before we went in. Cam gave me that, chill out look. I couldn't help it! Last time I went in for an ultrasound, I found out my baby had died and it was a complete shock because my body had not registered what had happened. It was a "missed" miscarriage. Fear seemed to get the best of me as I walked in the hospital doors teary eyed. Just because I wasn't having any bad signs, doesn't mean my baby was okay, I thought, thinking about how normal and healthy some of my previous pregnancies appeared to be. It hurt terribly to find out that those little ones were gone especially since I didn't suspect it.

10 minutes later, I was tearing up again. But for a totally different reason. Our baby measured a little ahead of schedule, was found in the uterus right where they should be, and had a strong heartbeat of 120 bpm that we were able to see and hear. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard in my life. They were so tiny and perfect. Cam and I just held each other so long after that appointment. What a relief.
Baby on the left, yolk sac on the right.

At 7 weeks, I felt confident enough to make a pregnancy shirt (thanks, Pinterest). I knew that there was a chance I might be ripping up this shirt later on, but I made it anyway. Part of me wanted to enjoy every moment I could with this baby. Whether things went right or wrong, I would have good memories to look back on right? That's what I tried to tell myself. We started taking pictures every Sunday starting at 7 weeks.

7 weeks. Barely anything there! This was right after I ran my half marathon.
Currently, I have been feeling pregnancy symptoms and it has been amazing! Who knew nausea would make a girl so happy?? No throwing up yet, but not eating makes me sick and pretty much everything I eat doesn't sit well. I'm also extremely burnt out and exhausted. It seems like naps don't do much these days. All of it is wonderful, and I honestly only wish it would increase a little. Is it crazy that I wish that? I've still been having some down days, of course. I think I'm in denial! It's like I can't even believe we are actually having this baby!

Tomorrow we have another ultrasound, so hopefully that will help us see that the baby is growing and that everything is still going well.

8/4/14: 

Well, I psyched myself out again for this ultrasound, but there wasn't any need. Our baby is growing. Beautifully. Healthily. Normally. My favorite part about this ultrasound is their cute, little, stubby legs. The baby's heart rate was measuring 188 beats per minute! Apparently, it is an old wives tale that a higher heart rate means it's a girl. We'll take that. But honestly, we'll take anything!

I'm feeling more confident that things will continue to go well. I am in love with our little munchkin. However, that guard is still up, and I do think it's causing me to shut out some of my (very strong) feelings for the baby. Perhaps trying not to get too attached? That sounds so absolutely terrible, but it is so difficult to explain. I worry that one day I'll wake up and our baby will be gone. I'm especially nervous as I get closer to going off of the progesterone and baby aspirin. I feel like these are helping my baby stay alive! I'm making sure to bring up these concerns with my doctor.

I get to come in again in two weeks for my first doctor's visit and another ultrasound. I'm very anxious.

8/17/14:

So... I decided to get a doppler. My friend has one and says it's so nice to have. I was a little hesitant to get one because I know I'm crazy. And paranoid. And will probably rip a building in half if I can't find the heartbeat one day. Would it be better to just not know? Finally, I caved. I told myself I would only use it for when I felt really nervous just for reassurance. And honestly, I need to practice some self-control.

We couldn't find the baby at first, but after a few days of trying, we found the heartbeat through the TV speakers. It was amazing and beautiful as always. I could seriously listen to that sound all day long. After a few days, I was able to hear the baby through the headphones. A good thing is that the baby is always hard to find this early, so it doesn't worry me if I can't hear it sometimes. I took the doppler with me to our trip to Lake Powell, so my mom and sister could hear the baby too. It was so special.

8/21/14:

I had my first appointment with my regular doctor today. Everything went well--besides the horrible surprise pap smear, which I was specifically told I wouldn't have until after my baby was born. Lies. We were able to see our precious baby again. I cannot believe the growth this baby is making! The baby was wiggling, waving and bouncing around in there. It was the most incredible thing I had ever seen. It is crazy how much they are actually moving, while I can't physically feel this yet. I'm very excited for when that happens. The doc asked if I was a volleyball player because the baby had the perfect form for a set--throwing their little hands above their head. Haha. I thought that was perfect because of my love for volleyball. And I cannot wait until I kiss those sweet little fingers. Aren't they perfect? All five of them! We were told today that with what we've seen, chances of miscarriage go down to 1%. My doctor is confident everything will go smoothly from here on out. Statistics don't do much for me anymore because we have been beating the odds over and over. BUT we are very overwhelmed with the amount of good news we have been receiving this pregnancy. Everything has fallen beautifully into place. We thank Heavenly Father each second for blessing us with this little life and are praying for continued good news. I felt so much more at peace after this visit.
Cam says the baby is "Kaepernicking" here.

One thing I haven't stressed enough is the amount of support we have been receiving from the few people we've told about this baby. Even many of the people who do not know about this pregnancy yet are still continuously praying and thinking about us. During some of my harder days, my thoughts would always turn to these people and their faithfulness. I ask myself, where is my faith? So many around me believe this baby will make it. I know the prayers helped us through our anxieties and have especially helped our baby. I often talk to the baby and say, "Sweet baby, do you know how much you are loved? You are surrounded by so much love already!"

We are so humbled and thankful. We feel so beyond blessed and happy, and our hearts and prayers still turn to our sweet family and friends who are struggling with such loss and/or infertility. It truly is a battle.

8/26/14:

The coveted 12 weeks!!! We are finally here. We made it out of the "scary zone". A place I thought I would never leave. I am still cautious. Still using our doppler (yeah, when I meant self-control, I meant once a day). Still have my guard up. But my heart is so completely full. I often think of the babies I have lost and wonder how close they were/are with this baby. Did they tell the baby about me? Are they watching over this little one? I have a feeling they are a big part of who this baby is. Sweet baby, it took so much to get you to this point, please know how much you are incredibly loved and we will do everything in our power to keep you safe.

None of this feels real. But if it is all a dream, please don't wake me up! Praying our baby continues to grow healthy and strong. Not much has changed physically over these last 12 weeks:

BUT this week I have certainly felt a difference. My jeans are tight (I've been driving to work with them unbuttoned completely). I am feeling the baby on the left side most days and I can see my uterus sticking up when I lay down. The other morning, I felt the baby really big and had Cam feel. He thought it was so neat! It definitely was not my belly fat. We put the doppler on the bump and could hear the baby loud and clear right there. It was definitely the best way to start our day.

This last Sunday, Marli (Cam's sister) took some pictures for us. We are getting to that point--where we are finally ready to announce it. We'll probably be sending out some announcements soon. I'm very, very excited to see how the pictures turned out.

Eating is still about the same. Though, I have felt more sick these last few days. It's honestly been very reassuring and comforting. I throw up only when I go without food for a while, so snacking frequently helps. I am continuously sending thanks to my Heavenly Father and for continued blessings on my perfect little angel.

9/1/14

I bought my first pair of maternity jeans today! Well.. My first three pairs.. Okay, I went a little crazy. They were so cute and SO comfy. Um, why have I not been wearing maternity jeans my whole life? Oh, because that's awkward. This babe is getting very big. It is so cool to feel my belly stick out more when I lay down now. I also bought a pregnancy pillow. I'm super stoked about it! Sleeping has kind of been tricky now that I have starting doing it on my sides. I'm definitely a tummy/back sleeper, so I haven't gotten much rest and have woken up with sore shoulders and a crinkled neck. But it is great. Anything for my baby and I am probably overly excited about this pillow!!

9/4/14:

I had a scare today. So I have been off progesterone for four days now, and have been experiencing some dull cramping ever since I went off. I've been expressing my concerns with Cameron and he just keeps reminding me that my doctor says it's okay (since the placenta develops by week 12 and produces plenty of it). But today I just had a sick, dreading feeling about it. The cramping has certainly been more obvious today. I messaged him about it, and he suggested I call the nurse about my concerns. Already done. I was waiting for her to call me back. While I waited, my sweet husband kept sending me helpful links to help calm me. I think I associate any cramping with bad news because that is how it has always been for me in the past. I've learned recently that that dreading feeling comes from trauma, which would make sense considering everything we have been through.

One of the links Cam sent me was really helpful. It was a discussion post and one of the ladies who commented gave really good advice. Experiencing 13 losses of her own, she assured the readers that it was normal to have this kind of anxiety with recurrent pregnancy loss. However, it was time to find acceptance. She stressed that you cannot control the outcome even though continually taking progesterone feels like you are. Our bodies are made for this, and it is time we trust that and move away from the unrealistic idea that our bodies have continuously failed us. It was true. No matter how many times my doctors told me the placenta had taken over and was producing enough progesterone, I would not accept it. I just kept thinking, well, my body just can't do it or my baby could die without this! Why aren't you letting me save my baby? It's definitely more clear, and I do need to move on and focus on what's happening now and not what could happen. It was comforting knowing I wasn't alone in my thoughts.

My nurse called me back and didn't make me feel stupid about being worried. She understood why I felt so afraid and told me that anytime I wanted to, I could come by and listen to the heartbeat. I thought that was so kind. Thank goodness for my doppler. She reassured me and said the cramping was normal. The baby was growing and my uterus and body were going through so many changes. I felt better after that.

It's important for me to take each moment and each day as a success with this pregnancy. Each positive day is one day closer to having our rainbow baby in our arms. I think I have been practicing this more often than not, but it's certainly something I'm striving to overcome. Our baby is healthy, growing, and oh so adorable! How can I be upset when every moment with this child so far has been positive? Pouring out my thanks to God every day doesn't seem to fully express the gratitude I feel. It's nothing short of a miracle.

9/15/14: 

A leap of faith. That's what I have to do. I have been off progesterone for a good two weeks and the baby aspirin for a whole week now. Additionally, there could still be abnormalities with my uterus or genetic problems the baby might face. Though all of this has certainly concerned me, I find myself thinking less and less about it. So that's what I'm doing. Believing that my body can do it and having faith that it will all work out!

We just hit 15 weeks this past Sunday! I know it doesn't look like much, but my belly has seriously grown these past couple of weeks. It is incredible and so exciting!

I listen to my baby's heartbeat almost every night and it sounds so strong and healthy. This week my app says that baby can now hear sounds from outside--I'm glad they can actually hear my (not so angelic) singing now!

And seriously, I think I have felt the baby moving! Maybe just once or twice a day. I could be imagining it, but it's certainly not gas or anything like I've ever felt before. It is beyond amazing! Again, who knows what I'm feeling, but I do know our baby moves a ton (since they are always in a different spot with the doppler and they were doing pinwheels at our 11.5 week ultrasound). The baby is now the size of a pear! Getting bigger and bigger every day. I am so blessed.

Baby's favorite food right now? Potato chips and French fries.

Also, I caught Cam drawing a delicate outline of me on our whiteboard. I think it's pretty accurate.


9/18/14:

I'm so excited. My friend recommended a pregnancy journal and I decided to get one. It came in today and I can't keep it closed!! I've had journals with my previous pregnancies, but they were simple notebooks. This one asks questions I probably wouldn't think of on my own and it will be so cool for me AND my baby to look back on. I'm ecstatic about it! The one I bought starts from the first trimester (at nine weeks), goes through the baby's birth, and walks through baby's first year. I like keeping general notes on my blog, but all of the special little details will go in the journal. I'm already into my second trimester, but it's fun remembering back on the first trimester--especially now while it's still fresh in my mind.

I definitely felt the baby move tonight! It is the seriously the most indescribable, awesome feeling. I am excited for when Cam starts feeling the baby too and when I get to feel them all the time!

9/28/14: 

I'm officially 17 weeks today. We've been in Boston this weekend and the baby has been very active! I felt the strongest moves I've felt so far--some that even startled me! It truly is the most amazing and indescribable feeling as many mothers would agree. They still aren't very big or frequent yet, but I'm thrilled!

At this point, I actually feel very normal and myself. Though I feel great, it is a bit nerve racking because I just simply feel less pregnant. But my belly getting bigger and the baby moving really reassures me.

This next week is a very special week because we get to find out the gender of our pumpkin! October 4th is the day, and we will be just one day shy of 18 weeks. I honestly keep going back and forth at what I think the baby is, and ultimately it doesn't matter! They are perfect and healthy. Anyway, the more I think about it, the more excited I get. And the more excited I get, the less I sleep!

Counting down the days (and sleepless nights) till next Saturday!

 photo kerisig_zpsbc8802b2.jpg

4 comments:

  1. Ask any mom. ANY MOM. She will tell you it is the ONE thing they miss the very most. Flutters. Baby kicking flutters. Love aunt deedee

    ReplyDelete
  2. I re-read this yesterday and got teary-eyed again lol.
    Keri, you are a powerful writer. Really, you're very good at this.
    I look forward to your posts. Keep writing <3

    ReplyDelete

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