I almost haven’t dared to update this blog as I have been holding my breath for the last couple of months, awaiting each milestone. This time the waiting has been a little different – still filled with nerves, sleepless nights, and some ill-advised Google searches, but also coloured by a sense of hope, celebration, and giddy anticipation. It feels so good to finally breathe a sigh of relief and more confidently say I am pregnant.
The journey we have been on over the past few months has certainly been testing. As we began our cycle of IVF, following unsuccessful IUI cycles, we were prepared for it to be a challenging time. Extra medications, extra injections, more appointments, and obviously more invasive surgery. Luckily I seem to be one of the few women who is not too badly affected by the medications. The list of possible side effects of some medications were downright frightening, with one of my favourites being “feelings of severe sadness and unworthiness”! Perhaps I’m already a moody, anxious character and so any mood alteration was hard to detect. Similarly, I was lucky not to have any physical reactions to the drugs and injections. My heart goes out to those women whose blogs or Instagram pages I’d scroll through recounting the range of side effects they experienced from nausea, to bruising, to just about any side effect imaginable. I simply got lucky and that really helped make the process a lot easier.
Something else I am very grateful for is the support I had in my husband who took it upon himself to be chief needle operator and give me every single one of my shots. I am blown away by the women who are able to do this for themselves. Although I’ve built up a pretty strong tolerance to blood tests and other fun medical procedures, I still wasn’t confident to inject myself. We certainly had a few attempts that were more drawn out than others, but as we went on we established our routine and it became just another task to accomplish before dessert and bedtime.
Although we coped well with the logistical side of our treatment, the emotional side was still an ongoing battle for me. Despite great support from family and friends, I still couldn’t help but let worry and dark thoughts consume me. I had convinced myself that there was no way we could have success with our first attempt and that even if we did there was a high risk we would lose the baby. I suppose this was my self-protection and defence mechanism kicking in and is probably a fairly natural reaction. As our egg retrieval day approached I began to feel a lot more confident. There were plenty of small milestones that we reached along the way that started to give me tiny bursts of hope. From solid hormone levels, to a good number of eggs retrieved, to a few healthy day 5 embryos, and finally to a successful transfer procedure. I remember having a vivid dream on the night following the transfer of a baby girl – something I tried to view as a good sign.
Fast forward through the longest two week wait we’ve had in our two years of trying to conceive, and we were both shocked to see two strong pink lines staring up at us on the pregnancy test. There are few moments in life you know you are going to forever remember and this moment of shock and then the rush of joy, and then the excitement of sharing the news with our family, was certainly one of them.
However, being a constant worry wart I then worried my way through each stage – from blood tests, to more peeing on sticks, to our first ultrasound, to graduating from our fertility clinic, and to our first OB appointment. Compounding my worry (which may sound ridiculous and ungrateful to some) was the lack of several common symptoms like nausea and vomiting. As long as I had a full stomach I could get through the day as usual. I certainly had other symptoms, tiredness being the main one, but the lack of morning sickness made me anxious for reassurance through the next test or scan.
I feel so lucky to be able to say that something small and wonderful is growing. A healthy baby who we pray will continue to get bigger and stronger. I know I will still worry to a degree throughout the rest of this journey but all I can do for now is celebrate the fact that today I am pregnant and that our baby is healthy.
Thank you to all our family and friends for their love and support and to the amazing ladies I’ve met online who continue to inspire me with their strength and generous spirits. Bring on the second trimester!