Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My activity level is decreasing while my caloric intake is increasing.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what that math equation is doing to my body. The sad part is the experts say there is absolutely no reason you need to eat more in the first trimester, but my brain and stomach have teamed up to sabotage my perfect pregnancy plan this early in the game.

I never wanted to be that girl; the one that is unable to control her sudden urges to eat discussing and harmfully toxic chemically filled foods. I managed to fight the dexamethasone steroid while cycling and proved myself by eating healthier than I ever had before, and that just affirmed my assumptions that eating while pregnant would be easy, you know, because I'm growing another human. Why in the world would I feed my body anything less than the best while attempting to nourish and provide for this child I've waited years to make?

Then came last Thursday night.

After a quick get-together with a girlfriend from high school at Barns & Noble's, I fought off the urge to down a Frappachino, instead sipping on my water and glancing a few side eyes at the baby book section without being too obvious. But as 10pm rolled around and we said our goodbyes, I found myself yearning desperately for the saltiness of an In-N-Out burger.

And because it's not highly processed crap food and my motor functions shut down after 9pm anyway, I obliged.

But while placing my order for a double double protein style dry over the scratchy intercom at a quarter past my bedtime, my child decided it just had to have french fries to go along with that burger.

I never eat their french fries.

But before I could stop myself, the baby high jacked my vocal chords and I was adding fries to accompany my already large burger order. I was baffled by this out of body experience as I pulled forward to pay for my order, but I reminded myself that I was at In-N-Out, not McDonald's, so at least I wasn't about to consume the guru of bad-for-you fast food. I was just going to enjoy a late dinner, and this would be a one time deal.

Sort of an initiation into the pregnancy club, since I don't seem to have any other symptoms.

But then they placed the box of salty goodness in my hands, and I surprised not only the boy on the other side of the sliding glass window, but myself as well when I managed to devour an entire handful of fries before moving an inch; glancing in my rear view mirror to make sure I wasn't holding up the line as I continued to eat with my right hand while placing the car in drive with my left.

They were the best fries I'd ever had.

I figured it was best-and safest-for everyone if I just pulled into the parking lot to quickly down my food, especially since I wasn't quite ready to see the I told you so look on my husbands face when I walked in our house that late at night holding an In-N-Out box and smelling of french fries. So I sat in the dark parking lot, fries in one hand, burger in the other, glancing around guiltily to see if anyone was staring at the crazy pregnant girl in the car inhaling her late night binge craving.

But to my advantage, very few people are out wandering the streets of our town at 10:30pm.

In less than five minutes I had disposed of the evidence and was on my way home, when the night made an even bigger turn for the worst. Before I knew what was happening, the baby took control of my motor functions once again and headed the car directly to WINCO, because even after consuming a meal that would have made me sick a few short weeks ago, it was suddenly imperative that I add a plain sugar doughnut into the mix.

I parked my car and ran directly into the nearly empty store and straight to the stale bakery section where I quickly located the last of the two warm, soft, plain sugar doughnuts. But as I placed them gently in the clear plastic bag, I spotted it something else I just had to have.

A plain glazed doughnut.

I probably wouldn't have grabbed it, had it not been setting all by itself. But it looked so lonely there, basking in solitude and left behind to be destroyed by the late night crew seeing as it was almost 11pm at this point, and I knew the poor little guy wouldn't make it to the next morning without being disposed of.

I just couldn't let that happen.

So into the bag it went as I rushed to the nearest check out line, paid for my three doughnuts and headed out of the store, fighting open the twisty tie package before I could make it out the self closing double doors.

One was completely devoured before I made it to my car, and the other doughnut never made it out of the parking lot. The third was consumed before I made it home, as to ensure that my husband would know nothing of this madness.

I don't think he's ready for this kind of crazy just yet.

As for the decrease in physical activity, I don't have nearly as good of an excuse. I'm pretty sure that before becoming pregnant, Yoga, jogging and long walks kept me sane, gave me something to work toward, made my body feel empowered, and kept my unsettled mind occupied. But since becoming a temporary fertile, I've chosen to take it easy to protect my little miracle so the jogging stopped immediately.

Then then yoga was put on hold after rumors swirled that downward dog and all other inverted positions were not safe for those growing small children, mixed with the complications of my sister's unknowing eye catching my weak attempt at a false bow pose during our twice weekly yoga class.

I lied and said I had cramps, but the truth was I just could not justify putting all of my weight on my lower abdomen while laying face down with my arms and legs in the air, and this darn progesterone makes any attempt at balance a joke, so until we reach that safe haven of twelve weeks, the yoga is minimal and mostly fake; due to the fact that our situation is still a huge-elephant-in-the-room kind of secret and I'm not ready to tell my sister the truth quite yet.

And in the meantime I'll watch my pooch grow more and more distorted, caught somewhere between the consumption of a very large dinner and the beginning stages of the glorious baby bump I've always wanted.

But with all the research I've read, lack of activity mixed with poor food choices can lead not only to obesity for myself and my child, but also diabetes, preeclampsia and a whole slew of attention deficit disorders; all of which scare my brain to the point of wanting to hit the gym twice daily and consume nothing but organic apples and salad.

But we all know that's not going to happen.

Really, all I can do is try my best to not get discouraged when I fall off the wagon. As a type A personality, obsessive compulsive control freak and self proclaimed perfectionist, this lack of energy, increased appetite and extremely early eight pound weight gain is a lot for me to swallow. But while I may be wallowing in self pity for the poor decisions that I've already made, you certainly won't find me complaining about my growing bulge or the fact that I recently gave in to an insane amount of calories in a very short period of time.

Because that's all a part of being pregnant.

Some girls may have more will power to eat well, a more disciplined routine and the ability to force themselves to work out while fighting fatigue; but this girl is just happy to be here. I'm learning as I go, thankful every day that I wake up to a new day and remember that I'm blessed to be growing my very own offspring despite the ever present challenges that lead me to question my sanity.

I will do my best to eat better and work out more; not only to keep myself healthy but to keep my miracle on the right track as well. I need to pray away not only the temptation of fear as I experience random bleeding episodes and the strange new twinges and cramps that accompany early pregnancy, but also the temptation to give in to everything I've avoided for the last six months in order to help create this miracle.

Because this may very well be my only chance to house another human.

And I want to be flexible, allowing myself to enjoy and indulge in things that make me happy as I go through this experience, while attempting to not go overboard and destroy everything I've worked so hard for. I'll watch what I eat and make wise choices, but I'll also make a few guilt free trips to In-N-Out every once in a while if that's what it takes to keep things rolling.

And occasionally, have a doughnut or two.

Or three.

"You can never re-create the past. But you can shape your own future. And you can eat cake.”
-Jacqueline Duval

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It was probably the most terrified I've ever been.

After marvelling at a full week free of spotting, worried only about the fact that I'm still not really experiencing any pregnancy symptoms, I was not so pleasantly surprised to see the brown discharge covering my pantyliner. However, if my body was going to choose this very moment to start spotting again, it couldn't have been a better time or place to do so.

I was in the bathroom at the R.E.'s office, waiting to go into my second sonogram to see if I was still growing a little miracle. Up until that point during the day, I'd been pretty calm. Spot free-and with no painful cramps-most likely meant that everything was going to be OK.

But then there was the spotting, which meant everything was all wrong.

As soon as I walked out of the restroom-before I could even share the bleak spotting news with my husband-we were ushered into the sterile ultrasound room and prepared for what would either be one of the most amazing moments of our life, or quite possibly the worst.

As Dr. Greene positioned me in the stirrups and prepared the machine, I couldn't breathe. I wasn't able wrap my mind around the fact that we were about to see a heartbeat in the next sixty seconds, and the anticipation was almost too much to handle, because at that very moment I was one hundred percent sure there was no longer life inside of me.

And then we saw it.

The tiny, flickering flutter of a heart.

And at that moment-for the first time-I knew I was pregnant. The beta blood tests, the positive home pregnancy tests, even the previous sonogram of the gestational sac and fetal pole; none of it seemed real. None of it was moving or breathing, it was all an illusion; just a memory.

A possibility.

Everyone assured me that hearing the heartbeat would make this child real; but for me, it was seeing the small, subtle movement that woke me up to reality. For the first time, I was staring at a screen that was showing me something alive; something that couldn't be printed out on a sheet of paper, couldn't be captured unless you were actually standing there, staring at that tiny little heart, beating away at 165 beats per minute.

What in the world did I ever do to deserve this.

After another quick scan around the lady parts, we were assured that everything was progressing just as it should and measuring right on schedule. We were on our way to a very healthy pregnancy, and our possibility of miscarriage had just dropped to less than ten percent. I was given the green light to stop all shots and medications, ween myself off the dexamethasone and schedule an appointment with my regular OB like a normal, pregnant girl should.

But as I listened to Dr. Greene's instructions and congratulations, all I could think about was the picture I had taken in my mind of the second heart beating in my body, the quick, steady thump and whoosh sound strumming like a soundtrack to an old film.We aren't out of the woods yet, it's still very early and we have a ways to go. I'm nervous about stopping my medicine after all this time, and I'm horrified that being a normal, pregnant girl means I won't get to see my baby again for a whole month at the OB office. But I'll just keep reminding myself that God brought us this far, and He has no intentions of leaving us hanging here alone.

He'll take care of us.

All three of us.

And in the meantime, I'll keep replaying that image over and over in my head, the solid proof that miracles really do manifest. One of them is in fact developing inside of me right now; forming limbs and organs, loosing it's little tail and looking less like a reptile and more like a little person every day.

And from the moment this little one enters into this world, he or she will know how extraordinary they are, and how amazing their life story really is. I hope there's never a day that passes that I don't praise God and glorify Him for this miracle, so full of gratitude for the opportunity to grow an answered prayer.

And a second heartbeat.

Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.
-Elizabeth Stone

Friday, September 10, 2010


They say seeing is believing.

And not being able to see is probably contributing to my unbelief. It's the oddest thing, knowing that there is life growing inside of you but not being able to feel it, touch it, or see it; I suppose that's what makes it so hard to believe that I'm seven weeks pregnant today. Maybe if I could have an ultrasound done every day, then my mind would begin to comprehend this tiny little being that's taking over my body once and for all.

I don't have any symptoms. I'm not nauseated, I don't have cravings, I can't feel my uterus growing and I haven't gained any weight. I don't have trouble sleeping at night, my bladder hasn't taken over my world and I don't smell things any stronger than usual. I'm not exhausted, plagued by heartburn, overemotional or even extra irritable.

But my chest sure has it's own agenda.

If it weren't for this last little detail, I really wouldn't believe the second line on the pregnancy test, or the picture of a tiny little sac and fetal pole that I carry around with me. I used to just assume the growth, tightness and fullness of my already too large chest was due to the progesterone shots, but lately the girls just feel different. It's a small symptom, I know, but at least it's something.

So naturally, I've become obsessed with it.

Having given up on checking for spotting every morning, I just grope, grab, and poke myself instead; only satisfied if my morning ritual is followed by an aching sensation. There was an episode last week when I woke up to a pain free chest and panicked at the thought of a miscarriage just because I wasn't feeling a thing; but to my relief, just a few hours later the ladies were swollen, full, and hurting once again.

Sounds desperate, I know, but it's really all I have to go by for now.

I could see how some girls would love this pregnancy induced side effect consisting of a growing chest and a fuller silhouette, but I'm having my doubts. Already a full D-sometimes DD-prior to pregnancy, I just can't see this ending well, especially after reading that the average woman will jump up two to three cup sizes during and after pregnancy.

Do they even make unmentionables that size?

I always thought that at this point, I'd have a scrapbook in full force. There would be a belly picture starting at four weeks and continuing every consecutive week, along with all of our organized beta numbers, ultrasound pictures, and receipts showing the date and time we purchased our first pregnancy test.

Instead, I'm sitting here at my desk grabbing my chest- just to make sure it still hurts-and wondering if it will be safe to start documenting in the form of belly shots after we hear the heartbeat next week, or if I should wait until that coveted twelve week mark before I get too serious.

Curious as to weather or not I should be thankful-or worried-that I'm not feeling any symptoms of pregnancy; preferable in the obvious form of puking my guts out, and contemplating the impossible size that my chest could very well swell to in an unnaturally short period of time.

I know that every pregnancy is different, and I should be thankful for the fact that I'm not hugging the toilet right now, despite the fact that google states that if my baby's heart really did begin to beat last week, I should be feeling sick.

Oh, google.

So instead of driving myself crazy with assumptions regarding the state of my uterus, I'm forcing myself to give this baby up to God on a daily basis. Every morning-after checking my chest of course-I lie in bed after snoozing my alarm and spend the next five minutes thanking God for the life growing inside of me, praising Him for our little miracle and promising Him once again that I know this baby doesn't belong to me, it belongs to Him.

I know He is orchestrating every little detail, from the amount of blood flow traveling to my uterus to the tiny hands and feet that are emerging from developing arms and legs this week-although babycenter says they look more like paddles at this point than the tiny, pudgy extremities I'm picturing in my head-and He's in complete control of every single step.

And although I'm doing my best to fuel my body with the nutrients it needs by obsessively becoming a flexitarian, only God can grow this child. He's blending the eye color, skin tone, hair and other countless details that will make up our child, and I just have to trust that He knows what He's doing, and be thankful that I'm able to experience this miracle at this very moment.

I'm still terrified that we won't see a heartbeat an next weeks appointment, and after several unprofessional cervical position checks seemed to indicate that my cervix is lowering, I'm frustrated at my constant inability to just let go and let God. But after almost four years of infertility, I've been severely traumatized, and I have to realize that while it's normal to feel fear at this stage, I just need to give it up at some point. I've waited way too long to get here to ruin everything by stressing about things that are out of my control.

So while I can't promise that I'll stop grabbing my chest randomly throughout the day, I just may have to take that first belly shot tonight, preferably after my flexitarian dinner so it looks like something is actually going on down there.

It's time to get this party started.

“Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
-Author Unknown

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Today, at five weeks and five days pregnant, I saw my baby.

As I sat on that paper covered cot, I couldn't keep my legs from shaking. I'd been here before, in this same room, with these same people, but it had always been to count follicles. We'd all smiled and pointed out the big black holes on the screen, documenting their rate of growth and dreaming about the future, wondering which ones would develop into healthy embryos that would become babies that I'd be holding in my arms someday.

But this time, everything was different.

After a miraculous cycle full of twist and turns, never ending surprises and heart stopping moments, I was finally looking at a single, misshapen black circle on the dark, grainy screen. And although the number of black blobs I was observing was much less then what I was used to seeing at the follicular monitoring appointments, my love for this one perfect little sac was more intense than I'd ever even felt for those countless precious follicles.

Because this was no longer a follicle holding the promise of a possible baby.

It was a developing baby.

At only five weeks and five days along it was deemed too early to worry about not being able to see the heartbeat, but we were thrilled to locate the gestational sac, yolk sac, and fetal pole that had collectively snuggled in and began to develop in the perfect uterine location. I'll never be able to explain the relief I felt at seeing the tiny little miracle that was growing inside of me, this precious little being that until this point was only visible as a second line on a pregnancy test.

But despite the intense joy that consumed me upon seeing this perfectly formed sac, I felt an unexpected surge of grief follow quickly behind. What about the other two beautiful embryos that we placed in this same spot a few weeks ago? Why am I only seeing one of them here today, where there should be three?

I realize it's normal to feel a sort of loss for the embryos that didn't survive, just all the ones before that were placed inside my womb yet never resulted in a pregnancy. I suppose I just thought it would be different this time, that my gratitude for the baby growing inside would be enough to erase the pain of the other lost embryos that will never become my children here on earth.

But it wasn't.

And in the half of a millisecond that it took for these thoughts to collect in my head, we saw what can only be assumed to be a vanishing twin. Another precious sac, this time far too small and much to empty to be considered healthy and viable.

And suddenly my grief made sense as I realized that even with the ridiculously low beta numbers that we'd been given these past few weeks, I always felt in my heart that God had another miracle in store for us and we were going to have twins. I never told anyone of course, but the thought never left the back of my mind, a secret desire tucked away, waiting to emerge when the time was right.

Medically we'll never really know the truth, unless the mass continues to grow a bit and becomes more obvious for our next ultrasound, but it's more likely that my lining will envelope it and use it to grow the more developed sac instead.

I knew all along there were two miracles inside of me, thought I never spoke it out loud. And when the Dr. showed us that one perfect sac on the ultrasound, I still feel guilty as I remember my eyes wondering across the screen, searching for the second sac and fetal pole, unable to find it and contemplating why I wasn't just satisfied with the one we'd already located.

Right now, I'm pumped full of hormones. I'm pregnant, and extremely in love with our little one, but I'm still struggling with accepting it, because what I saw on the screen today became slightly more real to me, but also managed to break my heart. I was relieved to see development, but sad to see only one of them considered healthy. I was thrilled to see our baby, but scared because it's heart still isn't beating. Thankful for the almost guaranteed simplicity of carrying a single baby to term, but disappointed to miss out on the drama and excitement of multiples.

As an infertile, I'm still having trouble recognising that I'm pregnant. Rising betas, middle of the day positive pregnancy tests and declined spotting may never be enough to ease my mind after almost four years of battling with my body to reproduce. I feel like there's always another milestone to hit, always one more step to reach before I'm safe, and I won't be able to breathe until I hear a fluttering heartbeat, because my my infertile past instills fear and holds me back from celebrating every completed step to the best of my ability.

I suppose this is something I will always struggle with, a pile of baggage I'll always carry around, fight with, and attempt to conquer.

But while infertility has managed to scar me, it's still not enough to completely strip me of the hope and joy that emerges when I place my hand on my stomach and know that there is life growing inside me, weather I can feel it or not. It's time to start practicing the faith and patience that God's been teaching me over the past few years, using it to calm my heart and continue to pray to Him for wisdom and guidance throughout this new journey.

I'm sad for our other baby that didn't make it-and the other embryos that have been lost over the last year-but I'm still amazed and in awe of God and how He's managed to create life in me despite this long, broken road. I'm growing more and more excited about the months ahead, and slowly allowing myself to open up to the realization that I could be holding my very own child in my arms next spring.

It's been a long three and a half years, and it still doesn't quite feel real.

But this time, it is.

"God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you."
-Rascal Flatts