31 Weeks

It’s a relief to be in the 30’s – not lost in the ambiguity of the 20’s. I know where I am now, and it’s close.  The baby girl kicks and squirms and pokes regularly throughout the day.  I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time just THINKING ABOUT THE BABY.  Where she will sleep, what we need to do, when she will come, etc.  They say this preoccupation is what leads to “pregnancy brain,” but fortunately I haven’t experienced any absent-mindedness. Yet.  In fact, things continue to be textbook, easy, and moving right along.  We had a hard time for many years, but once that IVF cycle started it’s been smooth sailing.

Due Date: April 25/26/28 (been told all 3)

Week: 31 weeks

Month:  7 months

Weight Gain: Last weigh in was 2/17/18, I’m up 9.8 lbs. I know this doesn’t sound like much so I always feel compelled to state that I also gained 7 during IVF.  I asked Ryan the other day if my butt is getting bigger and he said, “maybe a little bit bigger,” so that 9.8 lbs isn’t all belly.

Sleep: I’ve had a cold for about a week which is keeping me up, but I’m hoping my great sleep will return. Usually I get up to pee 1X a night, if at all.

Diet: I average 1 pineapple a week and 1 orange a day.  Still hitting the carbs and dairy hard and not really into meat.  Milk chocolate has been really tempting lately, too.  Overall, I feel like my metabolism has been more forgiving than usual.  I’m eating generously (but healthy) and not seeing the weight gain I’d expect.

Exercise: I’ve just started to drop off at Pilates, due to unusual muscle strains and generally feeling uncomfortable.  But I’ve kept up hiking, weight training and regular walks.  I count every week that I can continue to exercise as I used to a major victory.  It’s so good for my mental health and relationship with my ever-changing body.

Physical changes: I swear in the last week I’ve gotten a pregnant belly on me. It took a while to get here, but it arrived overnight. My center of gravity and flexibility are a daily learning curve, and getting in and out of bed a little more challenging.  Not much else to report though, no stretch marks or swelling, no widened feet, no dark line down my belly, no crazy hair growth.

Maternity clothes: Definitely maternity pants are needed, but I can still get away with a variety of pre-maternity shirts.

Nursery prepared: Not even close. We have to install baseboard in our front bedroom before we move the contents of the back bedroom (which will be the baby room), and then we have to patch/ paint walls and install baseboards in the back bedroom.  And THEN we can start to prep the nursery.

Alcohol/Caffeine/Forbidden Foods:  I drink a 10 oz cup of coffee every morning.  Any other caffeine intake may come from chocolate, but I’m not drinking any tea or soda. I haven’t touched alcohol for the duration of the pregnancy, either.  Steering away from the “bad” food list hasn’t been hard, but I will say I can’t wait to eat a gigantic turkey sandwich.

Names: We have a few.  It’s been a hard road coming to terms with the fact that I will not be naming my daughter a name I really like or want.  But it will be a name Ryan and I agree on, and our baby will give it a world of character and meaning all it’s own.

I have a nagging suspicion she will be early.  I don’t plan to go on maternity leave until about April 18th, which is probably why my paranoia is kicking in and telling me she’ll be born on April 15th.  As an accountant, Tax Day is a big deal.  Coincidentally, it’s also the day Ryan proposed.  So I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s also the day this independent little mover and shaker decides it’s time to make an entrance.  9 weeks and counting, and let’s hope she sticks….


Infertility advice to myself and to whomever may want it….

It’s been just over 6 months since Ryan and I got the news that our textbook fresh cycle worked (!!), and we gleefully lost the “infertile” descriptor and took on “pregnant.” While I count myself invariably lucky, the sharpness of infertility is still fresh.  Not to mention, Ryan and I are not magically cured.  Should baby #2 be a possibility, it won’t happen naturally.

For that reason, I wanted to take time to recount some of the most poignant lessons learned, advice to share, and survival tips. I may need them again one day.

In general:

Infertility is about as personal and as painful as it gets: It’s your sex life and your finances and your health and your marriage, all wrapped into one big bag of bad news.  For many, becoming a parent is what they’ve been waiting for since they were children themselves.  We all know family is the most important thing.  At its best infertility is searing disappointment, at its worst it is death, loss and grief.

Everyone is different.  Each couple, each diagnosis, each personality with insecurities and hopes and fears are all unique.  Some people may need to share their journey, others may want to keep it strictly confidential.  Couples may not be on the same page, treatment may not be clear cut, and finances can be all over the board.  There is simply no one-size-fits-all for this camp.

For those in the trenches:

Get a second opinion:  I know, this means more time and money thrown down an endless well, and it’s hard to see the value when you are invested in a certain doctor or protocol.  It took me a year to work up the nerve and goodwill in my marriage to drag Ryan to another doctor, but it literally made the different from being told “you’re hopeless” to “you’re pregnant.”

Be gentle with your significant other:  In my personal journey, my marriage was the most treacherous terrain.  Ryan and I did not see eye to eye about 90% of the time, and the resulting opportunities for frustration and resentment were insurmountable. Be judicious with your battles and be delicate; carefully weigh the costs and benefits in this minefield.  Your significant other is your only teammate now and always, and you want to keep that relationship the best it can be.

…and be honest with yourself: Recognize the truths, and give them time to sink in.  This is unchartered territory; you aren’t an expert.  Give yourself time to grieve, to think, to determine what you need and want.  You may change over time, your opinion may change over time, and you may consider avenues you’d previously sworn off.  At each turn, think critically and ask yourself “will I regret this down the road? Will I regret not doing this?”

Lean on each other: As someone who still dreads sharing my infertility story, even at 7 months pregnant, I will say that the infertility community was a great source of comfort.  There was no salve to my wounds like knowing other people were enduring it, too, and to hear their advice and see their strength and not feel so alone.

Lean on your faith: If you are a person with a spiritual force guiding you, you will need it now more than ever.  Even in my darkest days when I didn’t understand why life was unfolding in such a disastrous pattern, I took comfort in knowing it wasn’t me calling the shots.

Speak up:  I wish I had spoken up more.  Communicate your needs, your fears, your questions and concerns to those you feel comfortable with.  Advocate for yourself and the support you need from others.  Your family and friends will only know what’s going on in your mind if you tell them.

For family/ friends of the interfile:

Follow their lead: Some of your infertile friends will want to talk about their journey, others will want to keep it private.  Please don’t dismiss the former and push the latter, or assume all are the same.  I realize this is asking you to sometimes be mind-readers and walk on eggshells, but your careful consideration can truly make or ruin a person’s day.

Don’t ask. Don’t ask a couple when they are having kids, or when they are having their second kid, or if they’re pregnant or off birth control or whatever.  This is like asking how much credit card debt they have or how much they weigh.  It’s simply none of your business.  You never know if someone is struggling with infertility, and these questions can be triggering and torturous.  I wish everyone knew it was bad manners to pry in this way; my life certainly would have been easier.

Don’t talk about how becoming a parent is the most life-changing thing ever:  I cringe when I hear those without children described as “selfish” and “immature.” I very well may have ended up childless, and resent mightily those who would think less of me for it.  The years of battling infertility and all the woes of finances, marital stress, self-doubt, bargaining, Dr.’s appointments, grief, disappointment, and uncomfortable judgment have brought about a great deal of maturity that those who conceived easily will never know.  And there is much selflessness in draining your emotional, financial and physical resources for the hope of new life.  Or agreeing to start or stop treatment even if you don’t want to, but your spouse is ready.  Perhaps well-meaning people mean their own lives were selfish or immature pre-children, but please specify that, and please be conscientious.

Don’t tell them “you will be parent one day:” A better alternative is “you will get through this.”  The infertile person constantly walks a thin line between having a positive attitude and not being delusional.  For some, being childfree is the best or only option after a long, embittered battle.  The easy-out, cavalier “you will have a child one day, I just know it!” can be dismissive and make us feel even more alone and misunderstood.

My infertility wounds are still healing. In some ways, I am still working on forgiveness and acceptance, but I know the scar will fade overtime.  I hope to always retain the sensitivity and kindness to be one less person in the world who doesn’t understand.  I hope you all are surrounded by a support group and sympathetic friends and family.  If not; find your community, and keep at it.  You may be just one more clinic visit away from turning the corner.

24 Week Update

Week: 24

Month: Middle of the 5th month/ just shy of 6 months

Trimester: 2nd

Weight Gain: Last weigh in was 12/21/17, and I was up 3.8 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight, but up about 12 lbs from my pre-IVF weight.  Eating habits got totally derailed over the holidays, and I’m a little scared to get back on the scale.  I am giving myself a couple weeks of better diet and exercise before I weigh in.  I’ve said it before – gaining weight, even pregnancy weight, in this Hollywood-body-obsessed culture is a mind trip.  Hard to get comfortable with.

Maternity clothes: half and half.  Today I am wearing normal work pants, but this week or next is probably the last I can get away with it.  Maternity shirts are the BEST, since I am on the tall side anyway and appreciate extra length.

Stretch marks: No new ones 😉

Overall physical feeling: Great! Like my normal self, just with some extra padding that makes me a little slower and a little less flexible.

Overall physical look: Not pregnant.  As Ryan says “You can tell you’ve gained weight, but it just looks like you’ve started drinking beer.  Like every night you come home from work and just and drink beer.”  If only.

Sleep: These days sleeping has been greeaaaat. Maybe it’s the cold, dark weather.  Maybe it’s that our house is finally warm after our heater was temporarily broken. (Such a terrible, terrible time, I don’t like to think or talk about it.)  But either way, the sleepless nights of the first half of my pregnancy have completely disappeared.

Diet/ Cravings: Holiday food fest aside, my diet has been pretty tame. I think I’m eating more than I did pre-pregnancy, but not a ton.  No severe cravings, although fruit (especially oranges and pineapple) have been a staple.  As has hot peppermint tea, CARBS such as toast, bagels, crackers, etc. and (cooked) sushi rice rolls piled high with ginger.

Food aversions: Nothing severe anymore, however I have noticed meat is generally not tasting good – too “meaty.”  I don’t reach for it, and when I do I am usually unimpressed.   I also have been eating significantly less vegetables than I used to, which I will try to correct.

Exercise: Sadly, my great pre-pregnancy fitness has really lapsed.  Now more than ever I need to re-vamp it, and I am determined to start up this week.  The combination of dark evenings, bad weather, and busy schedules has wreaked havoc on my routine.  Not to mention weekends are booked up with painting and house projects and appliance/fixture installation trying to get his place finished before the baby comes.  Getting back on the horse at 24 weeks pregnant in early January won’t be easy, but it must be done. Simply must be done.

Names: Nothing yet. We are terrible at agreeing on names, and this had sparked many a heated argument.  We are currently avoiding the topic.

Overall emotional feeling: We are getting EXCITED.  It’s feeling so much more real, the baby girl hopping around in my stomach all the time, and we just can’t wait.  Some close friends of ours just had a baby girl and we are gleeful our turn will be here soon enough.

I am so, so thankful and humbled that God has been so merciful and good.  How did we get so lucky when so many are still struggling? People in our lives are starting to forget our history and recent plight, and only focus on the future.  No more questions or special treatment or comments about how hard or how thankful or how unfair.  We are blending in like any other expectant couple, and I couldn’t ask for more.

19 weeks and MY BIRTHDAY

Today I am 34 years old.  Last year, when I turned 33, I could not have imagined the wild terrain that lay ahead of me in the coming year.  I don’t think I could have packed much more into being 33 if I tried.  It has been a year of leaps and bounds and tremendous blessings.  34 will bring it’s own unique mix the way that life does, but new life – our little girl – will come with it.

Last year, right before my birthday, Ryan and I had just completed an adoption orientation that went to absolute shit.  Ryan did not have a heart for adoption and I was utterly heartbroken.  He suggested getting a second opinion on IVF, I think more to keep me from going off the edge than actually because he thought it would do some good.  A couple days later I made the appointment, mostly because I was grasping at straws for something to make me feel better, not because I thought it would do any good, either.

That was a bad time, but God is good. He is good in the good times, and with us in the bad times, and will never abandon or forsake us.

The day after I turned 33 I saw a house for sale and told Ryan “let’s go see it.”  Thus began the long 4 month fiasco of selling our tiny craftsman and buying the 1960s ranch.  We moved, and throughout the year have poured our weekends and all our money into flooring, bathrooms, paint, drywall, siding, fixtures, appliances, recessed lighting, baseboards, and furniture just to name a few.

Our second opinion led to a cycle of IVF, which was wildly successful and yielded a healthy pregnancy with a baby girl on the first shot.

Ryan changed jobs.  I changed jobs.  We got a new car and sold mine.  Our cat Hazel almost died, but didn’t (although we have a kitty heart condition to manage – she’s doing well). Devastating wildfires in October tore through 5,000 homes and will forever change our city, but our home is safe.

TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars were spent this year between the house and the IVF, and in all honestly I look back and can’t quite figure out where it came from or how we paid for everything.  Our savings, earnings and proceeds from the sale of the house just don’t quite add up.  We will be paying off the IVF through next year, but can easily do it.  God is good.

Next year the baby girl will be the blessing of all blessings.  God does not work on a reward system; Ryan and I did nothing to earn the relief, joy, pinch-ourselves-because-this-life-can’t-be-real feeling.  I am thankful for every good thing that came of being 33, and am thankful for a good God who will walk with me through 34, regardless of what may come.

17 weeks 6 days and much to be thankful for

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, also when I roll into my 18th week of pregnancy.  Today is my last day at my current job.  I am changing departments once more and this time voluntarily demoting myself to my previous position.  I.CAN’T.WAIT.

I love the people I work with and the fast pace of my current role, the paycheck has been nice, too, but my goodness this job is hard.  I am a finance person working in operations and I can fake it for only so long.  Throw in the Northern California cluster fires which will change the landscape of my department permanently, and I just can’t keep up.  The weekends and evenings and constant craziness is just too much.

My job has been taking over my mental sanity long before October 8th, when the fires broke out.  The fact that I am 3 paragraphs into my infertility/pregnancy post and talking about work should be a good indication.  ANYWAY there is a light at the end of the tunnel where I will be able to sleep at night, work a normal schedule, and remember that I am pregnant.

At this point I can still *squeeze* into my regular pants. I don’t look pregnant, just like I have some extra meat around my middle.  I feel like I have a cantaloupe sized ball of liquid in my abdomen, which sags from side to side when I do Pilates and makes sleeping on my stomach uncomfortable.  We did CVS early on and were thrilled to hear that our baby GIRL is healthy and growing well.  Other updates:

Weight gain: about 2 lbs since my first weigh in at 6 weeks

Cravings/ appetite: Still obsessed with oranges and Asian foods (pho and “sushi” aka cucumber and avocado rolls with a ton of ginger).  Otherwise eating normally and feeling great.

Maternity wear: Starting to really love maternity pants.  Wearing my regular pants are such a mind trip; they are so tight and uncomfortable, but I can’t shake the feeling it’s because I need to eat better and work out, not because I’m 18 weeks along.

Exercise: I’ve been failing in this area due to the aforementioned work craziness. I’m trying to re-vamp my routine with walks and weight training and Pilates, while I still can.

Names:  The front runner right now, literally the only thing we can agree on, is Hannah.

Baby Prep: None whatsoever.  We are focusing on getting our bathrooms functioning first, then we will worry about a kid’s room.  I have received a few gifts already, here and there, which is very sweet.  I have a bag amassing in my closet of baby stuff which is unbelievable.

Movement: I feel nothing

What is going well with pregnancy:  (Aside from the obvious, that we failed to conceive for 5 long years and now have our very own baby on the way.) I feel perfectly normal.  I’m glad I haven’t started to show super early, which took some getting used to (i.e. “why can’t I see anything yet?!”).  We are out of the “danger zone,” the uncomfortable moments of telling everyone are behind us (I don’t like attention) and now we can just move forward and enjoy the time.  Ryan and I are both pretty private people, so we like to talk about it with each other, but not many others.  It feels like we are already a bigger family.

What is not going well with pregnancy:  Consistently, since day 1, I have been short of breath and have had trouble sleeping.  Both not like me.  I’ve also started getting grey hair for the first time in my life – am I just getting old, or is it the hormones?

Next week is my anatomy scan, which I hear is the “best” one since it’s long and in-depth.  Ryan gets to join me, and he hasn’t been able to make the last few appointments, so he’s excited.  We have long weekend ahead of us and are escaping the Thanksgiving madness and heading to Yosemite, which I have never seen in my adult life.  and then come Monday I start a slower paced, easier job.  Hallelujah.  Much, very much, to be thankful for.




This little baby is strong.  It held through IVF, ICSI and on our first transfer it made itself right at home – no big deal.  A chorionic hemorrhage didn’t phase it – I saw it bounce around gleefully on the ultrasound shortly after.  And this week, as my city burns down around me and I work late nights at Emergency Operations and get little sleep in a guest room at a house with 9 other evacuees, the little heart beats away.

My prenatal appointments have been indefinitely cancelled because Kaiser has burned.  I’m not sure when the next time will be that I can check on our baby.  Despite the utter devastation that surrounds us, the dozens of people we know who have lost everything, and the never ending worry our home will be next, I feel like this baby is saying “I got this.  Don’t worry about me.”

The physical and emotional stress I am going through can’t be good for it, but tomorrow I will be 12 weeks, so we are feeling some extra assurance.   As a government employee I am required to work in disaster relief efforts, but the work shifts are demanding and long.  I feel terrible – there is so much need – but I am trying to do what I can to meet this baby half way.  It’s a terrifying week, and the least I can do is refuse a 12 hour graveyard shift – try to keep the stress levels at bay.

Pray for Santa Rosa, for all of Sonoma and Napa counties, and for the public safety staff out there trying to save our city.


Warning: Some TMI pregnancy and bodily function details ahead.

On Saturday morning I woke up and the usual discharge from the nightly progesterone suppository was light brown.  This had never happened before – day after day since the embryo transfer, it was bright white.  I felt fine otherwise.  I told Ryan what I saw, and went about my day.

At about 1 p.m. I went to the bathroom and my entire panty liner was soaked in blood.  Oh Lord, no, give me strength to get through this was my guttural reaction.  Was this happening?  Was this actually happening after 10 weeks of no issues? I immediately called the advice nurse and spend 45 minutes on the phone only to be told do nothing, just take Tylenol for pain and come into the ER if the bleeding becomes very heavy.  The soonest I could get in for an ultrasound was Monday morning.

Miraculously, the bleeding stopped.  I had light pink discharge for the rest of the day, but never any cramps and the bleeding didn’t resume.  I took it easy for the rest of the day, and all day Sunday, which meant cancelling plans for a BBQ with friends and family and I know it sounds silly but I felt so terrible for ruining everyone’s day.  I was thinking everything was probably just fine until Monday morning, when I woke up and found my panty liner soaked in blood again.  I was shaking as I showered, got dressed, and went to Kaiser for my 9 a.m. ultrasound.

The first thing the doctor said to me was “has anyone discussed the results of your last ultrasound with you?” and I told her no.  Turns out the “twin” was noted to maybe not be a twin at all, but a chorionic hemorrhage, which my body might now be passing.  She did an ultrasound and praise the lord the little baby had a strong heartbeat and even jumped up and down a couple times.  I texted Ryan immediately and he was beside himself.  He told me later he’d been 95% sure the baby was lost.

No more bleeding today, but I was told these hemorrhages might take a week to resolve themselves.  If it happens again, I will schedule another ultrasound ASAP.  What a scare! I am so thankful everything is fine, but my heart goes out to any woman who has been in my shoes and things were not fine.  In the moment, I found myself terrified to experience the physical miscarriage.  It would not be like “having a period.”  Women have endured this throughout the ages and I feel for them today.  On top of the emotional toll, what an insult to injury.

I will keep an eye on things, but for today at 10 weeks 5 days, all is ok.