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.

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Grateful

For the past week I have been feeling more confidence and less anxiety about my pregnancy, and have even indulged in some of the normal activities, like perusing baby items online and starting the nursery.  I am a few hours shy of 25 weeks so there is still a long way to go and I know anything can happen.  But for the first time I feel like I have a real shot of bringing a baby home.  I never in a million years thought I would be sitting here 25 weeks pregnant.  No matter what happens, I am so grateful to have experienced seeing myself with a baby bump, and feeling my baby kick.

I want to start trying the best that I can to enjoy some of this, so I want to start documenting some of the lighter/fun parts, rather than solely my deep dark scary thoughts and anxiety.

How far along? 24 weeks + 6 days

How big is baby? According to my app, the size of a rutebega at 25 weeks. (What is a rutebega?) Either way, I think baby is around 1.5lbs right now.

Total weight gain/loss:  About 20 lbs as of last week. (I am so embarrassed about this!)

Maternity clothes?  Yes, will I ever fit into normal clothes again??

Sleep: Not great. Waking up several times a night from a combination of having to go to the bathroom, and anxiety.

Best moment this week: Seeing my stomach move as baby kicked like crazy in there!

Food cravings: Nothing crazy. My appetite has calmed down a bit, and I’m trying to eat healthier. I was on a sugar kick for a while but I’m finding my stomach is a bit more sensitive to what I eat these days.

Food Aversions: None

Pregnancy Symptoms:  Cranky! I’ve definitely bitten a few people’s heads off lately.  I’m also having some really bad acid reflux – very uncomfortable.

What I miss:  Still turkey sandwiches.

What I am looking forward to:  My next milestone – 28 weeks.

Upcoming appointments/events:  I have a growth scan on the 29th, I will be just shy of 28 weeks. I also have to get my glucose test done in the next couple of weeks.

Milestones: Ordering the nursery furniture and painting the room.

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.

Countdown to Viability

I am currently 21 weeks + 1 day and 20 days away from 24 weeks, or, viability.  Am I the only one desperately counting down to this milestone?  I know that as of 24 weeks its not like I could birth a fully developed baby guaranteed to survive. But it is comforting to know that in 3 weeks, if something goes wrong, something could at least be done to try and save the baby.

I know this is a morbid thing to focus on.  But the past several weeks have been scary as I have felt like once you’re in the late teens/early twenties weeks of your pregnancy, you’re somewhat in open water.  You’re far enough along where something tragic could happen, but not far enough along for anyone to be able to do anyting to stop it.

Had I not experienced bleeding last month (and way too much googling over what SCH’s can lead to), I probably wouldn’t be so focused on this.  But, at the moment it’s the only thing keeping me sane as I’ve continued to dream up new fears every week.

On Monday of this week I had an appointment with the MFM doctor.  This was an appointment requested by me to check in on my SCH.  The MFM said he did not see it, only a marginal sinus (I believe this is a placental lake?) which was not a threat, and not the same thing as an SCH. In addition, I have had no fresh blood in 5 weeks and no old blood in 3 weeks. The fear has not left entirely but I did feel marginally comforted after the appointment.  They also did my fetal echo (required for all IVF patients), and fortunately it was perfect!

Something that has been bothering me a bit is the onset of Braxton Hicks.  I seem to have started them earlier and with more frequency than other first time mom’s.  Mine started around 19w and I can have up to 10-12 per day, though not every day.  Of course it didn’t take long for that to instill the fear of PTL in me.  Plus, they are just plain uncomfortable.  I’m trying to rest as much as possible and drink a lot of water.

I have also started to feel the baby move, which is amazing but also kind of weird!  It feels like a little snake swimming around in there. But I love knowing that it’s an experience that only baby and I will share. My bump has popped and there is no mistaking now that I am pregnant.  I still haven’t purchased a single thing as I don’t feel ready to do so, though I am starting to get pressure from my family and husband to begin preparing.  With (hopefully) a full 19 weeks to go, I feel I have plenty of time left.

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.