Friday, March 18, 2016

I'm pregnant...again.

This is what happens when you're freaking out.
It's weird to be able to say those words. It felt so odd telling Gabe I was pregnant again. It was like I was telling him a joke. This is my 6th pregnancy. It's taken me a while to be happy about this. At first I was thrilled, but within a couple of days fear set in. It took 8+ home tests, 4 rounds of blood work, and 4 ultrasounds, but I finally believe this is actually happening.

It took 18 months to get this positive, after two miscarriages less than a year ago. I have been poked and prodded more times than I can count, and we still don't know why I've lost 4 babies. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and I've had it since I was a teenager (contrary to popular belief, it can happen to anyone with ovaries, not just under or over weight people) which definitely raises miscarriage risk, but mine has been under control for well over a year now. In December I was officially diagnosed with "unexplained infertility." It's an awful diagnosis because it's exactly what it sounds like. We have no idea what is wrong. I've had surgery, I've had all of the invasive ultrasounds (surprisingly, getting something stuffed in to your uterus isn't so bad after having a baby), and after 6 doctors, no one ever found anything. My doctor here told me that my chance of miscarriage was probably more than 50%, which isn't comforting whatsoever.

I did 5 rounds of medications. One femara and the rest were clomid, all with HCG trigger shots. After my last loss back in September, we took a break from meds because we were moving, and because I couldn't handle them anymore. They were quite literally making me insane. It wasn't good. Fortunately, every time I took a couple months off from meds, my ovaries were kickstarted for a few months, even if it was still unpredictable. That's how I got pregnant last April too. So in January, even though my cycles were getting longer and longer, I decided to randomly take a test. I didn't actually think I was pregnant. I took one because 4 days later I was supposed to start injectable medications exclusively. We had the needles, Gabe had practiced at the doctor's office, it was going to happen. Then those pink lines showed up and I was in complete shock.

Like I said, I didn't think I was pregnant, and it took me a very long time to believe it. I had 4 rounds of blood work. My HCG levels were ridiculously high, and quadrupling in 48 hours (they're supposed to double). At that point I was terrified of morning sickness because apparently high HCG can make it worse. I was also mildly afraid of having twins, because they run in my family and sometimes make HCG levels high. But neither of those happened, thank goodness! Just one little nugget in there and my morning sickness is very much manageable (unlike last time).

Once I got a positive test I started progesterone and low dose aspirin to try and stop anything that could be causing my miscarriages. It looks like it worked well! I had my first ultrasound at 5 weeks just to make sure everything looked good so far. Then again at 6 weeks because I had some bleeding. I was told to stop exercising, lifting my kid, and to rest with my feet up, and the bleed that was near the baby disappeared by my 9 week scan. I heard the heart beat for the first time at 6 weeks, but still didn't believe everything was fine. Saw the squirmy little bean again at 9 and still struggled. At that point I graduated from my Reproductive Endocrinologist (fancy wording for fertility doctor) to an OB. I had a scan at almost 11 weeks and finally believe it. There's a baby in there. It flips like crazy and it's heart rate is about 160. So I finally believe the barfing, all the zits, bloating, everything is for a reason. I was just convinced that it was too easy to get here. I got pregnant randomly after trying for so long. Too easy right? Well, I suppose it wasn't that easy.

The second I peed on a stick I knew exactly what my due date was. I tracked my basal body temperature like a champ for more than a year and a half. Every morning at 6 am. So I knew exactly when this happened. And my ultrasounds confirmed it. I had a weird sense of pride knowing that I knew exactly what my due date was before my doctor. Throughout this process I've had countless ultrasounds and blood draws. I'm not sure what more I could've done to make this process faster. It was going to happen when it was going to happen. It wasn't easy I guess, but it could've been harder and I'm thankful it wasn't.

I haven't chosen a doctor yet. I'm trying to decide where I want to deliver. There's a hospital 15 minutes away, but it's small and probably not prepared if something happens to me. Plus I haven't heard good things about it. There were issues with my epidural last time, and my heart is doing weird things again this time. I saw a doctor recently that told me I need to see a cardiologist asap. My heart rate is crazy low for pregnancy. Lower than what is normal for a non-pregnant person (that range is 60-100bpm I believe) I'm not sure what that means for me and baby, but I know that it makes me more tired, weak, and light headed on a regular basis. I don't need that when I'm pregnant. I'm already tired from growing a human! Hopefully this cardiologist will find out what's going on, even though the last one couldn't. It took 20 years to find my heart defect that almost killed me, so you never know!

I still can't believe I'm pregnant. I will probably get more excited when I feel baby and when I have something that looks like a bump rather than like I ate too much pasta. Gabe is happy though. Not to say that I'm not, but he struggled last time. I think all that trying and failing made this more real for him, so I guess there was a benefit to all of this. We didn't want a 4 year age gap, but I have come to realize it isn't the end of the world. It sounds like a good gap. Peyton understands a lot more than she would've even a year ago. She loves to watch the growing baby videos, and she talks about the baby all the time. She thinks it's a girl and she wants to name her Baby. Last week we went to Bath and Body Works and as soon as we walked in she said "are we going to buy a candle for the baby in your belly?" She goes to all of my appointments and gets excited for every ultrasound. She likes to carry the picture out under her shirt on her belly. She also likes to pretend the baby is out on the floor crawling around and playing with her. She's in for a shock when a real baby actually comes home, but she's going to be a good big sister. It's just going to be a big adjustment after being an only child for almost 4 years.

I am so happy we've had so much and support and love. Every pregnancy announcement is special, but there's something extra special about someone who has struggled to get there. I get extra excited for those people. And I really felt that love when I posted the picture of Peyton the other day. I've never seen so many loving words on one of my posts. I know I share a lot of this journey, but I feel like I need to because so few do. I hope that more people realize how common these issues are for couples. I'm not the only one. I personally know at least 15 people who have struggled or are struggling with infertility. It's not easy. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done. It stops being fun and exciting and starts being more of a stressful chore. That isn't how it should be. And the beginning of pregnancy shouldn't be such a stress. I envy those that are blissfully unaware of how common miscarriages are. I envy those that get pregnant the second they start trying. But I remind myself that everyone has their own struggles, and this was one of ours. It probably will be again, but hopefully I'll be more mentally prepared for it. But right now, I don't have to struggle with it anymore.

Because I'm pregnant. I just knew 2016 would be good. :)