Finally.

I still can’t believe it, but I am finally a mom.

My daughter was born on February 16th at 39 weeks exactly. I worried right up until I walked into the hospital whether or not she’d make it here safe and sound. But she did, and the dream of being a parent which has driven me through the past 4 years of infertiltiy hell, has finally come true.

At 6:00 AM on February 16th I walked into the hospital with my husband and doula for my scheduled cesarean section. I sat calmly in the waiting room as I was admitted and enjoyed the last of my baby’s kicks inside my stomach.

The nerves set in as we were walked upstairs to triage for pre-op. I changed into a gown and sat on the bed. I chatted with my husband and doula as the nurse took my vitals, listened to baby’s heartbeat, and administered my IV. We kept the conversation light and they kept me calm and lighthearted which helped my nerves tremendously. I felt calm and ready. The big red digital clock on the wall was constantly in my line of vision as I watched it edge closer to 7:30, my scheduled surgery time.

Finally, it was time. I felt like I was in a dream as I was handed a cap and walked back into the OR. The doors swung open and the lights of the OR were blindingly bright, just like in the movies. I was taken aback by how many doctors and hospital staff were in there, busy preparing for the surgery. I was instructed to hop up on the table so they could administer my spinal and it was at precisely this moment that my nerves went into overdrive.

I sat on the table, wordlessly, shaking from both anticipation and fear. I barely noticed the sting of the needle as I leaned forward and the medication was inserted into my back to numb me for the surgery. I wondered briefly how it would make me feel, and within seconds the entire lower half of my body felt like it had fallen asleep. I was laid down on the table and began to panic internally. What if the medication wasn’t strong enough and I could feel them cut into me? I wanted to ask for a few minutes to collect myself, but didn’t want them to think I was weak or scared.

The anesthesiologist was all business and explained that he was going to poke me with what felt like a thumbtack to assess how numb I was.  He sounded like he had done this a million times, which was comforting. When you have your abdomen cut open you want an anesthesiologist who comes with lots of experience and confidence! As he poked me he asked to what degree I could feel it. I prayed I wouldn’t get the answer wrong as I feared it might lead him to not give me enough medications to sufficiently numb me.

Suddenly, it was go time. The drape went up and I had an overwhelming feeling of This is really happening. Like, right now. There is no turning back. 

My memory from that moment is spotty but I recall finally seeing my husband come into the OR and sit behind the drape right by my head. I asked him if they were almost ready to start the surgery, as I had felt pressure on my stomach for a while now and assumed it was the doctor cleaning and prepping me. My husband told me that they had already began and were well into the procedure, which surprised me more than it should have. From that moment on I became acutely aware that all of the pressure and tugging I felt was, well, my abdomen and uterus being cut into. It was a sickening feeling and left me very unsettled.

The tugging and pressure increased and I heard my husband say they were getting close to pulling the baby out. All of a sudden, the anesthesiologist grabbed my husbands shoulders and told him to stand up so he could see the baby being born and announce the sex.

“It’s a girl!”

I couldn’t believe it. My baby was here, finally she had joined us, safe and sound. And she was a girl! There had been no doubt in my mind for 9 months that it was going to be a boy. I began to cry. I heard her first cry, and the tears rolled down my face faster. My husband kissed me and I felt like I was in a dream. I was listening to my own child cry. Of the thousands of babies I’d heard cry throughout my life, nothing sounds like the first cry from your own child.

They cleaned her up, weighed her, (9 lb 10 oz!) and brought her behind the drape. I kissed her head. I’m a mom. Finally. This is my daughter.

She is two weeks old today and it feels both like I’ve never known life without her, and at the same time, I still can’t believe she’s here and she’s ours. If given the choice I would never want to suffer through those years of infertility, but with her birth it all made more sense. She is who we were waiting for and working towards all that time. And I can say that she was absolutely worth the wait.

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10 days

Between the last several weeks flying by, and my c-section getting moved up a week thanks to another patient delivering early, I am now only 10 days away from (hopefully) meeting my baby.

I was conflicted about whether to insert the “(hopefully)” there, but in these last few weeks, my confidence has waned as the fear mounts about everything that could go wrong. I never would have guessed I would be 38 weeks pregnant with still so much uncertainty over whether I will bring my baby home.

I don’t know why I feel so much anxiety – I have no reason to believe anything will go seriously wrong, other than the few hiccups I’ve had (kidney stones and now GBS positive). I guess I’ve just done too much Googling and reading about all the tragic things that can happen.

I am trying to live minute to minute, then day to day.  This is similar to how I felt when I was dealing with the subchorionic bleed in the second trimester and was desperately hoping to make it to viability. Every so often I think, “Ok great, I’m another hour closer.” I wake up in the morning and mentally tick another day off my countdown. The nights are the worst.  I wake up at least 5-7 times a night to use the restroom, and when I get back into bed, I can’t go back to sleep until I feel the baby move and kick a few times. Needless to say, between that anxiety, my kidney pain, and frequent bathroom trips, sleep is not something I am getting much of these days.

At this point I am actually seeing the upside of delivering via cesarean. Being GBS positive plus all the other things I worry about may have made a natural delivery too anxiety provoking for me to enjoy. (By the way, I know bieng GBS positive isn’t the end of the world – Just one of those additional wrenches in the plan that throws me all off balance, mentally).  If I can get to next Thursday without going into labor or having my water break, and can walk into the OR healthy and ready, I may finally be able to relax a little bit as they bring my baby into the world.

 

33 weeks

My anxiety has unfortunately not improved in the past few weeks.  While I feel like I am getting so much closer to the finish line, I also continue to panic that something could go wrong at any moment.  Baby’s movement continues to be a source of anxiety for me as well. I also made the mistake of spending too much time on Google reading up on breech babies (why are they breech, risks of remaining breech etc.), and let’s just say I shouldn’t have done that.

If/when hopefully baby arrives safely I am sure I will miss being pregnant, but at this point I just want to it to be over. The weight gain and being physically uncomfortable does suck, but it’s more the mental torment that is making me question whether I could handle another pregnancy in the future. I have not felt fully emotionally stable or healthy since before I was pregnant. That’s a long time to feel so much stress!

Last week I had my 32 week growth scan, at which time baby was still breech – Frank breech position to be exact. (Explains why I’ve been feeling big pokes on the right side, it’s baby’s foot).  My OB’s office started the paperwork for my c-section, which is scheduled for February 22. I will be 39 weeks + 6 days.  Of course, I have a whole other set of worries here. That’s pretty much 40 weeks – what if I go into labor before then? Again I’ve read way too many scary things about going into labor with a breech baby.I feel a little bit like a ticking time bomb, though maybe that’s just me being overreactive with my anxiety.

To a much much lesser extent, I am still a bit disappointed about not being able to labor naturally. People keep saying there is plenty of time for the baby to turn head-down, but I’m starting to feel skeptical. The further along I get with a baby that is still breech, the less likely I know it is that he/she will turn.  Ultimately all that matters is a baby that arrives healthy and safe, but in a perfect world I would have gotten to have a normal birth experience.

At this point I am trying to make preparations as I feel up to it. It’s hard some days to pick up a baby book or buy things for the baby when I lack the confidence that everything will turn out ok ,but I am doing the best I can.  When I first told my family I was pregnant, I asked them not to plan a baby shower as I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable having one, and at this point I’m very glad that I had that foresight.  Going to a big celebration centered around my pregnancy/baby would have been way too much for me at this point, mentally.

Spiraling

After feeling really optimistic and positive for a few weeks, I am finding myself back on a downward spiral of anxiety and fear. I think it is something about entering a new trimester that brings all the fear back as I experienced this around 14-15 weeks as well.  It’s like I suddenly realize all the new potential things that could go wrong in the weeks to come and start panicking.

Since hitting 28 weeks, frequency of movement has been a major source of anxiety for me. Most days I have an extremely active baby that pretty much never stops moving, but once or twice a week he/she will have a pretty quiet day that gets me worried. If I am being honest, even on the active days when baby stops moving for an hour or two to sleep I start to panic a bit.

The frequency of movement didn’t concern me so much in the second trimester when I knew it wouldn’t be unusual to not feel movement all day, every day. However now I feel like I should be feeling it constantly and whenever I don’t, I really start to worry.  This morning I didn’t feel any kicks when I was lying in bed after waking up like I usually do. I got up and drank some juice and laid back down, and got some kicks but still not the normal activity level. I already had an OB visit scheduled for this morning so I mentioned the change in movement to my midwife. She had me do an NST and squeezed in an ultrasound. Fortunately all looked well in terms of baby’s health, but due to the level of my anxiety, that really only comforted me for a few hours.

I don’t know how I am going to make it through 9-10 more weeks with this level of anxiety. Compounding my overall feelings of stress is the fact that I was told today that baby is still breech and if he/she didn’t turn by my next growth scan in 2 weeks at 32 weeks, I would need to schedule a c-section.  I burst into tears instantly as the thought of missing out on labor and a vaginal birth makes me feel like in addition to everything infertility has taken from me, now I’ve been robbed of yet another part of the pregnancy experience. It is not the biggest deal in the world as what matters most is baby’s safe arrival, and I was told that they will continue to check baby up until the day of the section in case he/she does turn, but its still upsetting.

3rd Trimester!

At 27 weeks + 5 days today, I am, for all intents and purposes, in the 3rd trimester. I can’t believe it.  For 3 years I dreamed of what it would be like to enjoy the holiday season, my favorite time of year, full of hope with a big round belly.  It is surreal that this is actually happening.  Just one year ago, I sat home with my husband on Christmas Eve and watched movies because family celebrations were too painful.  Two years ago, I ran out of church crying because I was overwhelmed with fear, loss and emotion.

I was overcome with hope and happiness in the waiting room of my OB this morning, as I looked around at the Christmas decorations and heard the holiday music playing, and realized that I am living what I have dreamed of for years – Being happy, healthy and pregnant during this special time of year.

I am not without any fears or cares – Typing this still gives me anxiety, as the thought creeps into my mind – Christmas is still 4 weeks away, anything can happen between now and then.  But today I am trying to focus on the positive and keep the worries at bay as much as I can. I had my first growth scan today and all looked perfect. Baby is estimated at 2lb 10 oz today and in the 50th percentile.  Right on track! I was shocked and disappointed to face the fact that I have gained 35 pounds so far, but knowing my baby is healthy makes it worth it.  Plus I found out that I passed my 1 hour glucose test, so I know to some degree my health is not in danger.

I did learn that the baby is breech as of right now, but the midwife said there is plenty of time for that to change.  I am going to try not to worry about it right now and see what happens at my next scan. I found out today that I’ll be getting ultrasounds every 4 weeks due to my mild hypothyroidism.  Now that I am in my last trimester, I am being seen every 2 weeks total, which is great.

I felt good enough after today’s appointment to start ordering some things for the baby. I chose and ordered a diaper bag, along with a few other items.   I am sure my anxiety will ramp back up in the next few days but for today I am enjoying feeling hopeful and happy.

Viability!

Today I am 24 weeks pregnant which marks the official start of viability for my baby.  This is a day I have been waiting for, for a long time.  I am not naive enough to believe that I could give birth tomorrow and be guaranteed a perfect healthy baby.  Realistically I know the statistics of survival are about 50/50 at this point. However, I no longer feel like I am out in open water by myself.  If god forbid something happens from here out, doctors will now take measures to keep me pregnant and save my baby and that in itself gives me great comfort.

I am breaking down pregnancy into milestones, obviously the first was this big one at 24 weeks.  The next milestone I am counting down to is 28 weeks.  This will help me feel like getting towards the end really is achievable, and that I can get there. There are a million worries that are starting to set in but for this moment I am trying to enjoy this day.

My pregnancy is reaching the point where I feel like I need to start getting some things done to prepare.  I took a leap of faith last weekend and ordered the nursery furniture.  And since I am mentally feeling good today, we are going to start our registry.  I do not intend to have a baby shower, but I know our parents will appreciate having a registry to work off of as they are hoping to purchase a few gifts.

When I tell people I don’t want a shower, they act like I am crazy, and I have a hard time explaining to them why I don’t want one.  I guess there are a few reasons.  One, it feels like I am jinxing things in some way. The thought of celebrating a baby that still has to make it here safely gives me anxiety.  Two, through three years of infertility, baby showers caused me a great deal of pain.  I never know who else might be silently suffering and I would hate to inadvertently impart that pain on anyone else.

As for the road ahead – I have a growth scan in 4 weeks, then I will have appointments every 2-4 weeks after that.  I can’t believe I am a few weeks away from the 3rd trimester.  In many ways this pregnancy has crawled by, but at the same time it feels like it has flown too.

Betas

Well, my FET was officially a success (so far), as confirmed by bloodwork this past Thursday. At 9dp5dt, my beta came in at 233.  This is by far the best beta I’ve ever had.  In my previous 3 chemical pregnancies, I never really even got out of the teens for my first betas.  For my blighted ovum,  I was at 86 at 16dpo.  I was thrilled for a few hours, but then anxiety set in.  One strong beta didn’t mean much, I told myself.  I started to get a horrible gut feeling that the number would drop for the second blood draw and that would be that.

I got my second blood draw Saturday morning and was a wreck all day waiting for the results. I sat at my kitchen table for hours, staring at my phone, not even able to move. Finally, by late afternoon I got the call that my numbers at 11dp5dt had increased to 599 – Just about a 36 hour doubling time, which is great.

Since getting that news yesterday I’ve started to feel a little more confident, but I am still terrified. I believe the odds of this working out are pretty good, but after three years of falling on the wrong side of the statistics (recurrent losses…a loss with a PGS normal embryo…etc.), I am conditioned to believe that I will always be that one in a million who gets a bad hand.

I have felt so much more anxiety in the past few days than I ever thought I would.  I always believed the past three years that once I got great looking betas I would just “know” it was a good pregnancy and could relax.  That is not the case at all.  I am terrified that I am going to end up blindsided and something bad will happen. After everything I have been through in this journey, it feels impossible to believe that all of a sudden I woke up one day, my transfer was successful, and I am really truly finally pregnant.

I have one more beta scheduled for next Friday, 5 days away. It is going to be a really tough week but I think the best I can do is keep myself preoccupied and just try the best I can to relax.  These 5 days are going to pass no matter what, so I might as well not torture myself in the meantime.