I have dreamt of this day for so long and at some points, thought it would never come. I still have to pinch myself a few times a day just thinking about it. I have been holding in the biggest secret of my life and it’s with a full heart that I let you know that, WE’RE PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As I type these words, the biggest smile is plastered across my face and tears well up in my eyes. It hasn’t always been smiles but it has always been a lot of tears and heartache. After 1 year of trying naturally, 4 IUI’s, 3 egg retrievals, 1 failed transfer and the darkest time of my life, and endless rounds of poking and prodding doing multiple tests to get to the bottom of all of this. It’s been by far, the hardest, darkest, and most physically, emotionally, and financially difficult time in our life. Because it’s been Blake and I through the whole thing. Just thinking about my first round of IVF gives me a pit in my stomach to think about how every new challenge met us with negative results. Every situation left us in the 1% of complications. I don’t know how I made it through. But what this process has taught me, is that I am FUCKING STRONG. The strength I have found in myself and in Blake during this time is something I never knew I had. When you are pushed to the edge, you have two choices: You turn around, or you jump head first. It’s not easy. I spoke a lot of about this in my posts here and there but as I went through the process, the one thing that got me through was hope. It’s hope that got us to where we are today. Sheer hope that one day, we would get through this darkness and come into the light. I know this sounds dramatic, but it’s the only way to describe it. Infertility has been like a rainstorm that has followed us for the past 3 years and finally, we can see the rainbow.
After a long and hard 2 years of fertility treatments, we have finally found our miracle. I was talking to my sister yesterday and letting her know how I was feeling and she told me that she still can’t believe I am pregnant and I completely agree. It’s like I am now living in a surreal dream world where my dreams have actually come true and I can’t even process it. I was waiting for the perfect time to share our news with you all. I decided not to share this time the exact date of our transfer so that we would be able to share our good (or bad) news with you all when I was ready. It’s hard when you do IVF, everything is plotted out and basically you can calculate when I would know either way. I decided to take that stress off me so that we can go through this last part of the process as relaxed as possible without having to answer to anyone. I didn’t know exactly when i would feel “ready” to share, but as each days goes on, I felt myself sad to be in hiding, not being able to share our news, and to finally scream out to the world that I am pregnant. I ended up keeping a pretty detailed journal from the transfer till today on each milestone/challenge that we have hit along the way. It’s lengthy but at this point, I am not shy about writing a lengthy post as I know it’s been so helpful for my fellow IVF warriors to read. I know that so many of you out there are still waiting for your happy ending. I remember how hard it was to hear about others pregnancies, and moving forward, I still try to be as respectful as possible to everyone because, I know those feelings and I know the hurt that comes with this process. I will never forget what we went through to get to this point. NEVER. It’s ingrained in my mind and I will continue to be here for you all, as a support system. Because I believe in all of you. You all deserve a goddamn medal of bravery and strength. Keep fighting and stay strong. Below I will share how we got to this point.
Our FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer)
Our embryo transfer was on December 11, 2017. I was so relaxed going into this day. Since this was the second time we were doing a transfer, we knew the moves and that made it all a little bit easier. Everyone was in good spirits. This time, I decided to play some music while the doctor and embryologist were in the room. Blake set up the Christmas tunes and there we were again. Watching this scientist get our precious embryo ready for transfer. We watched on the screen as the whole thing took only a few minutes and then it was done. We transferred 1 embryo and if you remember, it is 1 genetically tested and healthy embryo. Another chance. Our chance. We both left with high hopes and ready to take on the dreaded 2ww (two week wait), well in my case, 10 long days until we went into the doctor’s office for bloodwork.
We went in for bloodwork at the crack of dawn. I always go in early because you want to make sure they they are able to send the blood work off for same day results. Waiting a minute longer to find out if everything you have done for the past year… you want to know the second the results get in. You have already been waiting for what feels like an eternity after your transfer.
I was feeling great after an easy blood draw at the office. Everyone including the doctor asked if I cheated with an at home pregnancy test and I laughed and told them I didn’t cheat but I saved a cup of urine in my bathroom just in case I broke down and wanted to do an at home test.
I know that sounds literally crazy but the wait is so fucking hard and every five seconds I changed my mind on if I wanted to test early. We went home and went about our day per usual. I was actually shockingly calm considering. I felt good. 3 days after transfer I had some light spotting and thought this might be great news and might be implantation bleeding. So while I had no symptoms, I was feeling very positive. This time was different. It had to be different. I was home for about an hour working on the computer and went to the bathroom. Blake was working in the office and I was on the other side of the house. I went to sit down… and I saw it. Blood. I instantly saw the spotting before I sat down and my heart sank. This was my period…. It was all over. I used the bathroom and then sat on the floor. It all hit me… it was over. It didn’t work. I started hysterically crying. I sat there, trying to calm down. I had to go in the other room and tell Blake that all our dreams were shattered. Devastated was not even the word to describe my feelings. I quickly dumped my cup of pee in the toilet and went to take the trash out hastily so I could calm down before I told him. I would never have taken the heavy trash out if I thought I was pregnant. I walked into the office and sat down. I was breathing heavy… and I finally said it. “Blake, I’m bleeding. I think this is my period. It didn’t work.” His face just broke my heart. I ran into the other room while the tears started gushing down my face. It still makes my heart sink to think about this moment. I almost decided on my own I was going to stop all my medications point blank but then last minute I called Blake to the kitchen and decided to quickly just do my morning meds until we got the final call from the doctor. Meanwhile, I texted my IVF friends that it was over for us. Blankly staring and barely able to stop crying, I got some interesting texts back.
Both of my IVF friends had spotting on 10DPT (10 days post transfer). Apparently the spotting could be from implantation. I was so confused. Why did I spot 3 days after and then 10 days after? I always spot before my period so this was dead on with my history. I started feverishly texting back and forth trying to get more answers. Finally, I shared all this info with Blake and we both decided ok, it’s likely negative, but, it’s not over until its over.
The last time we got our blood results was way late in the day so I was surprised when my phone started ringing at 1:30pm. It was the doctor’s office… and I was scared shitless to answer the phone. I always make Blake answer these calls and put them on speaker phone so if the news is bad I can literally cry my eyes out and he can keep it together for the both of us. Blake answered the phone and it was our nurse coordinator and she sounded in good spirits. I could barely hear what she was saying because I was so nervous when I heard her say we have good news. It was like I literally jumped out of my own body. I screamed to her on the phone, “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU.” And low and behold, our numbers looked good and I was PREGNANT. I explained to her how I was spotting today and she said that was totally normal and in line with implantation bleeding. HOLY FUCKING SHIT. I could not believe it. I literally stood there frozen with tears in my eyes. Was this true? Did it really happen? Why had I thrown out my cup of pee and not used an at home pregnancy test?? I was just standing there in shock.
The next day, I grabbed 2 hidden pregnancy tests from the back of my bathroom cabinet and took the tests. I had never seen the both lines appear, and I had never seen the words pregnant pop up on those devil sticks. But after peeing on those sticks… they finally showed me some love. I sat and stared at them for a while. How many times had I peed on these things in the past only to be heart broken time, and time and time again. I actually still have these tests sitting on my tub in my bathroom. I look at them everyday and remind myself that yes I am in fact pregnant, and to also remind myself just how lucky I am every single day.
5 Week Ultrasound
When you get pregnant with IVF, you are automatically characterized as a high risk pregnancy so you come in much earlier for testing and ultrasounds than the normal patient that gets pregnant naturally. We were lucky to be able to go in for a 5 week ultrasound to see how things were going. The doctor warned me that we might not be able to see anything (and that would not be bad) or we might see something and that would be great. So instantly the pressure was on. All of these early ultrasounds (like all the ones I have had through my fertility treatment) have all been a transvaginal ultrasound. I know… sounds… lovely. We were so excited that the doctor could actually see the baby. It was a miracle. I was pregnant, and I have a picture to prove it. I was finally one of those woman, leaving the doctors office, with photos of my own little miracle. I still can’t believe we finally got here. I made sure to roll up my photos and be discrete about it because I remembered how painful it was to watch someone stroll through the waiting room with a long photo strip of baby photos. We left the office and while we hit the button for the elevator, I said to Blake, “we are finally THAT couple. Leaving with our photos.” It was a really really good day.
6 Week Ultrasound
We knew when we went in to get our ultrasound we would have the possibility of hearing a heartbeat. We sat down for the scan and we could SEE IT!!! While it was still pretty early for us to hear it, we could see the flickering little heart beat. I can’t tell you what that moment is like when the tiny little sweet pea inside of you is coming to life. It’s seriously out of this world how much development happens in all these early weeks of pregnancy. I am that crazy person reading like 3 books at once soaking up as much information as possible.
We got home from our appointment and was home for a few hours. Later in the day I went to the bathroom and I noticed I was spotting. I had a mild heart attack before I calmed myself down. It was likely irritation from the ultrasound that morning. I calmly called the doctor’s office and they confirmed this was perfectly normal. It’s so crazy how you would think that you work this hard to get pregnant and then you stand on egg shells the whole time waiting for the other shoe to drop. No part of this process is easy. You think it’s all rainbows after that positive pregnancy test but the new journey is only just beginning. I am so lucky to be in touch with so many amazing woman that have been through IVF pregnancies of course send them frantic text messages all the time. There are so many things people don’t talk about. Apparently it’s so common to be spotting through the first trimester. I also have a pretty angry cervix that is very sensitive (sorry for the TMI) so I should have expected this irritation. It’s a wild ride. That is for sure. I just sit counting the minutes until the next ultrasound when I can see my baby, and confirm that I am still pregnant. So everyday until there, I look at my positive at home pregnancy tests, and take a minute to think how grateful we are to be in this position.
I feel like the most talked about pregnancy symptoms in early pregnancy are morning sickness and nausea. I didn’t experience these until 6 weeks. Luckily I have not been vomiting which is really good news but I have had on and off nausea all day long from morning to night. I usually wake up with it, and go to bed with it. For me, nausea is a sign that things are happening with our tiny baby so I have a very positive outlook on being sick. It means that baby is growing, things are changing, and I am moving forward toward baby every single day.
Yes the nausea does suck but I try to eat smaller meals throughout the day to make sure that my stomach is never empty. I keep a box of wheat crackers next to my bed and usually have some right when I wake up to put something into my stomach. I hydrate as much as I can and have an occasional mint tea (naturally decaffeinated) to settle my stomach. I have also been drinking alot of hot water with lemon as not to have too much tea. Luckily I haven’t had any real food aversions but what has soothed my nausea has been a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches on wheat bread. My sense of smell has always been incredible even before pregnancy so it’s just that more intense now. Luckily Blake cooks a lot of our dinners so I can take time to relax when I am not feeling so well. It’s made leaving the house and getting ready to do stuff in the outside world more challenging but thankfully a lot of that time was right after the holidays when things were a bit slowed down to begin with. But for now I just keep to my small meals and snacks throughout the day and drink as much water as possible to get me through these symptoms.
7 Week Ultrasound
We went in hoping to be able to hear the heartbeat this week! We saw a strong visual heartbeat flicker which was stronger than week 6 so that was great news. We then also heard it!! While it was very faint it was there and only further proof that our little baby is growing stronger each day.
8 Week Ultrasound
I was really hoping to be able to actually hear the heartbeat stronger at this appointment and I feel like I always get super nervous (and still excited) for each appointment. It’s crazy because with everything negative that happened in the past, I am still desperately hoping that the shoe doesn’t drop. There is so much that can happen in this first trimester and it’s such a balance of emotion going between the positive and negative. I know this is my baby, this is the one, but it’s impossible to throw out that that little bit of question in the back of my head. Regardless, we had a great appointment and I was finally able to capture the tiny heartbeat on video on my phone. And I now just play it over and over. I am in love.
If you are thinking, oh do I have a cute little bump yet? Let me tell you… the answer is no. I can’t even remember if I told you yet because I have been writing this blog post as a journal, but I am still on a lot of medications from the doctor. Currently still doing 2 progesterone shots (in my butt) a day, and 2 pills of estrace (which is estrogen) a day. So I still have a ton of bloating and side effects from the added hormones.
I feel like once a week or once every two weeks I have been spotting and it continues to be the scariest moments of my week. Never would you think a few drops of old blood could put you into such a panic. Every time I would call my doctors office. Pretty much I just have to monitor it to make sure it never becomes heavy or bright red. I am on strict NO WORKING OUT orders from the doctor so it’s not that. I tend to also spot sometimes after the vaginal ultrasounds. While the spotting just instantly makes everyone’s mind drawn to the ugly word miscarriage, it’s been a true practice in patience. Each time it happens now, I talk myself off the ledge. Many woman spot through their first trimester and some even spot their whole pregnancy. This will pass and you will get through it. This mini pep talks keep me from having a melt down. It’s much like the whole process trying to get pregnant, you wait, you hit roadblocks, and you find the best ways to move forward. It’s so funny because you think once you get that positive test and everything just melts away, and while its a huge fucking big deal and changes your life, there are still so many roadblocks and challenges ahead. I think one of the biggest things I have learned through infertility is to be patient, have hope, and always be looking forward. It’s taught me so much about myself, and that while it may feel impossible at times, I am capable of big things.
9 Week Ultrasound
A big achievement this week was to finally cut down my hormone meds. Instead of the normal 2 (butt) progesterone shots a day, my doctor finally took me down to 1 shot a day!!!! HUGE GUYS!!! When you are doing 2 shots a day for basically 3 months… this is a huge win. One step closer to taking care of this baby all on my own without the help of these extra meds. I will be counting the down the days till we are hormone free!!!
11 Week Ultrasound
I feel like each week going to the doctor just gets better and better. This week our baby is looking REAL. No more gummy bear baby. We could see the spine, the heart, the arms and hands and legs. It was… wow. Now that my nausea has mostly subsided, I don’t have the constant reminder that baby is growing at a mile a minute. But this photo, and watching the little heart beat… it gets more real each week. I feel like it’s the first ultrasound I don’t feel like Rachel from Friend’s where she starts crying saying, “I DON’T SEE IT!!” I have my photo pinned up next to my desk so I can look at it every single moment. Another big milestone this week is that the doctor took me off all my shots and hormone meds. I honestly screamed of excitement in the room when she told me. It’s been 3 months of day in and day out meds and finally getting the green light to stop is something to celebrate. Especially since I have been on and off all kinds of meds and hormones for 2 years, the sense of peace of finally letting my body take over is something that is very special to me. Each baby step inching closer to feeling like this is it.
I have been very tired but in all honesty, I have such a hard time sleeping that naps are out of the question. So I try to get things done with nice breaks in between (if my schedule allows) to take a moment and take care of my body. Working from home has it’s advantages there but if I take that break during the day, I have to make up for it at another time. No big deal. But all in all, feeling really good. I am looking forward to the day I get cleared to do some light exercise again. A girl can dream right?
12 Week Ultrasound + Graduation from my Fertility Doctor
This day has been one I have been dreaming of since we stepped foot in the doctor’s office. All those happy couples hugging the staff, sharing well wishes, and carrying out their strip of baby’s first photos as they walk out the door for the last time. It was my last appointment with the specialist before “graduating” to the OBGYN. With our last look at baby and hearing it’s little heartbeat, blood draw and it was all over. Everything we had worked day in and day out for… we were finally the happy couple hugging the doctor and nurses and thanking them for everything they had done for us. As I type this it’s later in the afternoon and the whole thing still feels so weird and surreal. Today like everyday, I am counting our blessings.
12 Week Ultrasound at OBGYN
WE FINALLY MADE IT TO THE OB!!! HUGE Milestone for us. We got to see the baby twice in 1 week and I am not complaining about that at all. Finally settling into life with my new doctor will be a new journey to take but everything went smoothly and now we wait till our 16 week appointment to see baby again. We are so used to getting weekly ultrasounds that it will be torture waiting a month between appointments but we just have to think how spoiled we were to be able to watch our little baby grow week by week so early.
I was in the car, driving to Laguna Beach to take the photos you see in this blog post, when my phone rang. It was the fertility clinic calling with my blood results from my last blood draw. Apparently my progesterone levels were on the low side. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I sank into my seat thinking that my baby might not be getting enough progesterone and I started to panic. They wanted me to go back to 1 progesterone injection a night and come back in a week to monitor my levels. Of course I ran to dr. google and started researching normal progesterone levels in the first trimester. I discovered I was not CRAZY low but I calmed myself down and waited for our doctors appointment.
A week later we were at the doctors, got a scan, saw our amazing baby, and got my blood work drawn again. The doctor said that their progesterone level standards are likely a lot higher than the regular OBGYN and that it was nothing to freak out about. They just wanted to supplement baby a little bit longer and hopefully keep me on meds for just 1 more week. So as of today, we will be seeing the doctor this week and wait on blood work to hopefully graduate for the last and final time. It’s always something right!?
How far along am I?
As of today I am 13 weeks 5 days pregnant with 1 beautiful baby. I am due August 2018. Just two days away from being in the second trimester!!!!!! I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT.
How am I feeling?
My nausea has toned down ALOT. I still wake up some days with nausea and it sneaks in here and there but overall it’s much better than weeks 6-11. Luckily the constipation (i know TMI) has gotten better and I am feeling pretty regular. I have occasional headaches but overall that has not been terrible. While I am not falling asleep sitting at my desk, once the early afternoon hits, I am just utterly exhausted. Even when i just do one small thing during the day, it tends to wipe me out completely. So my strategy as of late is to make sure I plan to get done everything important as early in the day as possible because by the time evening hits, I am useless. Speaking of useless, pregnancy brain is a 100% real thing. My brain has become completely useless and my memory gone. Honestly, today is going to be one of the best days in a long time being able to finally be out in the open about our pregnancy. I can’t tell you how much love, dms, emails and message you have all sent me over the past few months asking how I was doing and sharing your stories. If you know me personally, I am a TERRIBLE liar so it’s been very hard for me to hide this big news from you all.
Am i showing? Not really. I feel like it looks like I ate my weight in french fries. But honestly I have been bloated for months so sometimes it’s confusing what is bloat and what is baby. These days Blake likes to remind me that it’s baby and not bloat. (Thanks Blake!) My boobs are 100% growing and I instantly threw all my underwire bras to the back of my closet and went out to buy all new bras that weren’t cutting into me. I am still wearing my old jeans but you have to think that I have bought sizes up in all my denim during IVF because of the insane bloating and weight changes. I have been finding myself feeling constricted in some pairs and doing the hair tie trick when I need a little more room. My best friend has been leggings. Honestly everyone deals with the changes in their body differently and it’s a really bizarre thing to deal with when your clothes start not to fit. What a mind game. So at this point, I am still stuffing myself into my old pants but that will be changing very soon.
In terms of growing pains, I have had ligament pains as much ligaments are stretching and my uterus is growing along with the baby. It’s crampy and uncomfortable but it’s all part of it. When it comes to my skin, I have continued to have hormonal breakouts and have some bumps on boths sides of my face. I will have some huge pimples pop up here and there but overall I can’t complain about my skin.
Our next OBGYN appointment is my 16 week appointment so until then, I will be staring at my ultrasound photos at home until we can see our sweet baby again soon. I will continue to be kind to myself and take in every moment of this new life we are creating.
I can’t wait to share my day to day with you guys again on instagram, and of course lots of updates on the blog. It’s been my privilege to share our fertility story with you all and to be able to share our happy ending is… unreal. Blake and I have to thank all of you for your constant love and support over these past 2 years. Connecting with all of you in this way has been one of my life’s greatest joys despite the fact that it was through a lot of heartbreak and dark times. But today, we celebrate Baby Lapides and count our blessings. We could not be more grateful than we are right now. <3