I've waited a really long time to make this post. Two and half years to be exact. We're 15 weeks pregnant now; officially in the second trimester. I guess I'll start at the beginning.
Saturday morning, the day after our ER, about 9 am. I am still in bed, sleeping off the rest of the anesthesia. My husband comes running into our bedroom, shakes me awake. I open my eyes and he has a huge smile on his face, his eyes are bright.
"Honey, I just got off the phone with the embryologist and both eggs fertilized! And she said they look good!"
He said it as though he was telling me he'd won a new car. My heart swelled to see him so excited. I will never forget that moment.
The second unforgettable moment came the day of our first beta. We took the day off work to spend it with my sister and her family, in town from out of state. We told no one that that day was our first beta. We didn't want to relive the heartbreak of the chemical pregnancy. We figured if the beta came back high, then we'd go ahead and tell our family. But if it came out borderline we wanted to wait for the second beta to confirm it. I was of course nervous, but I also had a pretty good feeling we were going to get a positive. The first change I noticed were sore, swollen boobs. It seemed this happened pretty much overnight. Second, I started to come down with a cold. It wasn't bad, but I was feeling a little run down and my throat was scratchy. I am hardly ever sick. And I had heard of women getting sick right at the onset of pregnancy. The third sign was about three nights before our beta. My mom served fish for dinner. I love fish. I took one bite and I almost gagged. Hmmm. (I still have the fish aversion today). The fourth sign was my heart rate. It was noticeably faster. There were times it felt like my heart might beat right out of my chest. It wasn't constant but it was just these surges. Definitely something I'd never experienced before. I was also feeling crampy; like menstrual cramps but without any spotting or bleeding. Oh, and the hunger. I was hungry all the time. I'd finish one meal and already I was thinking about the next!
So we spent the day with my family which was a welcomed distraction. But as the morning turned into afternoon I felt more and more anxious. Finally at 3:00 the call came. We were all at the park when the phone rang. I quickly answered it, separated myself from my family, my husband right behind me, and the nurse wasted no time telling me it was positive. I asked right away what the number was. 344. What? She said it again. 344. Holy. Shit. 344. 344!! Our beta with our chemical pregnancy was 23. I immediately burst into tears and felt my whole body just start to shake. It was as though every emotion of the past 2 1/2 years was stored deep inside me and it just couldn't flow out fast enough. My poor husband's face filled with panic for a minute; he didn't know what the hell was going on. It's 344, I managed to choke out. His eyes grew huge while he waited for me to hang up with the nurse. Neither of us could speak for a full minute, we just held each other and I cried. Then I remembered the rest of family was watching us. They had no idea what was going on. So we told them right away. It was especially special because my sister was with us when we found out.
The second beta was that Monday, (the first was on a Friday). The second beta came back in the 1900's. I was shocked it came back so high again. And worried. Our RE told us the beta numbers themselves don't mean much, it's just the rate at which they grow. But I've heard enough about betas that I knew those numbers were twin numbers. But I knew it wasn't twins. I just had a really good intuition that it could only be one. So I kept thinking that something must be wrong for the numbers to be so high for just one embryo. Of course I went to Dr. Google and I started to fear a molar pregnancy. I was terrified. I cried a lot. I prayed nonstop. I worried all day everyday (although I've always slept soundly through the nights since day 1). After a couple days of this my husband finally prodded it out of me what I was so upset about. Being the most intelligent guy he is, he did some research of his own and found the symptoms of molar pregnancies, which mimics hyperthyroidism. I had none of those symptoms. Just really high beta numbers that I couldn't let myself believe were real.
Three very long, excruciating weeks went by until the morning of our first sono. I have never been so scared in my life. I could hardly speak. I could hardly breathe (although I ate a full breakfast which should have told me something). When we sat in the waiting room I couldn't move. And when I sat on the exam table, waiting for the sonographer, I couldn't stop shaking. So I just sat there and prayed.
The world stopped turning for those 20 seconds until we saw the embryo on the screen. We had a wonderful sonographer that was with us during our cycle. Right away she said, this is a good looking embryo! I couldn't let my breath out though until she found the heartbeat. We couldn't hear it but we saw it. We literally saw the heart beating on the screen! There aren't words to describe how I felt seeing that. She pointed out the arm and leg buds, measured it to find it was two days ahead of schedule, and then we were done. We were officially being released from our RE to go out into the world, be pregnant and have a baby like any other normal couple. It was like being in a dream. It is still like being in a dream. So surreal. So incredible. And unbelievable.
No one tells you while you're going through infertility how terrifying those first few weeks are. For so long I was so focused on just getting pregnant. Then a whole new set of worry sets in on just staying pregnant. There was one morning I woke up convinced my boobs shrank during the night. I thought that must mean something was wrong. I wasn't pregnant anymore. I don't know how I managed it but I didn't drive my car to the RE that morning to demand another sono or beta, but when I got to work I immediately went into the ladies's room, stood in a stall and just cried. I was just so scared and I felt so helpless. But the days went by and nothing dramatic happened. I have a good friend who suffered a loss with her first pregnancy, and she reminded me that this was in God's hands, and I'd be doing the best I could do in honoring Him and showing my gratitude by trusting Him. So I just made that my mantra for the next several weeks. And I realized that if something happened, I would be okay, and we would try again. Maybe not as easily as that, but I knew we would get there.
The second sono came in July, this time with an OB. It was so strange to be a pregnant girl in an OB's office. It was like I didn't belong there. I felt like an impostor; like any minute they were going to ask me what the hell I was doing there. But the second went much like the first, and at 11 weeks I knew our chances of experiencing a loss were going to be very small. It was after that second sono I really started to breathe. I started referring to our baby as our baby, instead 'the embryo', or just 'it.' I started using words like 'when' instead of 'if'; 'going to' instead of 'maybe.' Each day that went by I started to sink more and more into pregnancy, like easing into a hot tub; piece by piece.
Today I can say I am lounging comfortably in that proverbial hot tub. I have a visible bump (I've been wearing maternity pants for 3 weeks). I actually smile at other pregnant women. My throat doesn't tighten when I walk by a Carter's. I read every article I come across about pregnancy and parenting. I laugh more. I dream more. I live more. It's like someone took my life off of the Pause button.
Some time around January 30th our lives will be forever changed. Our story goes on to a new chapter. But I will never be able to leave infertility behind. People will ask when we're having a second child, and it will hurt. Our child may someday ask for a little brother or sister, and it will hurt. More tough decisions will have to made sooner than we'd like. Tears will fall again over infertility. But I know no matter what the future holds, or how our story unfolds, as long as we walk with and trust God, we're going to make it. We're going to finish the race.
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing."
2 Timothy 4:7-8
Ignore the video; it was the only one I could find of the song I wanted to go along with this post. But it's a great song.
"I never could have made it this far without the Lord."