That sounds like an oxymoron – an “infertile pregnant woman” but that’s how I saw myself through my pregnancy. The memories and feelings of infertility did not waiver especially during the first trimester of my pregnancy. It was a weird feeling because I also felt like I no longer fit into the community that had been so supportive through my IVF journey – my community of fellow infertile friends. It is bitter sweet to announce a pregnancy to woman who are still fighting the struggle of infertility. I’ve been there before. I’ll never forget the day my older sister, Gina told me she was pregnant.
It was right before we began IVF. She had wanted to tell me in her own way but was forced to tell us when we tried to get her to drink with us one night. I remember the first feeling I had was jealousy. Followed by anger – anger that I was robbed of the happiness and joy I should have been feeling for my sister. Infertility had yet again robbed me of a moment that should have been filled with nothing but happy thoughts. But there I was on my sister’s couch as she looked at me with tears in her eyes, tears in my eyes as she muttered the words she was pregnant. I never imagined in a million years that that would be the reaction I would have to such wonderful news. I went home that night and just sobbed in Brandon’s arms.
Those are the feelings and memories you don’t forget. It was just one more reminder that I wasn’t pregnant. I have always kept those feelings in mind even after I was pregnant. The first trimester was bitter sweet for me. Yes, I was completely overjoyed that IVF had worked for us but I wasn’t out of the clear yet. I was well aware of the statistics and percentages that the pregnancy could end in a miscarriage. To really get an idea of how I felt I’ll tell you about a particular time infertility really fucked up my mindset during my pregnancy.
It was the day of Gina’s gender reveal party. I had been 12 weeks pregnant at the time so it was also a celebration for us that we had made it to such a great milestone in our pregnancy. Family members were there and had brought us gifts in congratulations. This picture was from that day – my MIL got us matching Christmas sleepers for our babes. I look happy right? And “glowing” right? Wrong. I specifically remember opening gifts and thinking in my head “well these will all have to be returned because this baby is definitely not going to make it.” Yes, it sounds absolutely awful that these were the thoughts I was having and until you go through infertility you wouldn’t understand. I worried myself sick over every little thing. Everything was too good to be true and good things didn’t happen to me when it came to babies. My lack of symptoms scared me too. I felt great – no nausea, sore boobs, food aversions, or any stereotypical pregnancy symptoms. I also wasn’t showing at all. Yes, I believed in my crazy mind that I should be showing at 12 weeks. Which is pretty funny to think now because my bump was small throughout my whole pregnancy.
I’m not talking about this memory to get sympathy or be pessimistic. I’m just trying to put in perspective the impact that my infertile journey still had on me. I felt like an infertile pregnant woman.
It got better tho. A lot better. Once I was in to the second trimester I started to think more positive. And when I could start to FEEL my baby inside me, whoah. That was one of the best (if not THE best) feelings in the world. Each movement was a reminder that she was still in there and was thriving in my womb. Our 20 weeks ultrasound was also amazing. Baby girl was breech so we didn’t get a lot of good shots but we got all the essential information we needed. She was perfect and all her parts were functioning normally. We had the doctor put the gender revealing picture in an envelope to have for a memory but we never opened it until after Vivian was born. Yes, that’s right family and friends – we did NOT know the gender of the baby despite what you may have thought!
The next big milestone in my pregnancy was the day of our baby shower. A day I thought might never happen. But it did. And it was perfect. I arranged to get my hair and make-up done because shit, I deserved it! I spent the morning getting spoiled at home while Brandon was out golfing with the boys. When I walked into my shower tears immediately fell from my eyes. This day was actually here. A baby shower to celebrate OUR baby. It was a very surreal day and it felt like I was in a dream. All of our friends and family were there and spoiled us with the most amazing gifts. It was perfect and I will never forget it. My MIL made the most precious onesies and she made this one that read “The little embryo that could”. Que sob fest!
My pregnancy was pretty smooth sailing as far as symptoms were concerned. Besides baby girl’s movements and my growing belly I really wouldn’t have even know I was pregnant! It was that good.
And then the third trimester hit!
Around week 35 the swelling and gastric reflux hit hard. I could only fit my sausages into one or two pairs of shoes and if Brandon was home he was the one putting them on for me! There was one night that we got Portillo’s for dinner (because, duh) and when your pregnant it tastes even better than it already is. When we went to bed that night I had been sleeping for a few minutes when I shot up out of bed because I literally had a mouth full of vomit. Gross, I know. My gastric reflux was so bad. And let me tell you, Portillo’s does NOT taste as good coming up. The nights were getting very long and uncomfortable. No position was comfortable no matter how many pillows I stuck under me or around me. I officially got to the point in my pregnancy where I “just wanted this baby out of me.”
Well on November 10th I almost got that wish. Brandon and I went in for my 37 week check-up. My doctor checked my cervix to feel how far dilated I was. She reported me at a “wiggly 1cm.” When she was done I sat up and felt a gush. Not like my water broke but just a gush for lack of a better description. I said to my doctor – “whoah I just felt a big gush.” She had used a big glob of lubrication to feel my cervix and said that was probably what it was from. Ok makes sense to me. When the appointment was finished and she left the room I got up to get dressed and discovered that that big gush was a rush of blood. I told Brandon to go get the doctor right away. She came back in and checked me out. My bag was still intact and everything felt fine. She rushed me down to the ultrasound room to check my placenta and fluid. Everything was looking fine so she hooked me up the stress test to monitor contractions and baby’s heart rate. I began to contract every 2-3 minutes. When doc checked my cervix she put me into false labor. Definitely wasn’t expecting this at a routine 37 week check-up. She sent us over to labor and delivery to be monitored. Holy shit. Was baby coming today? No, she wasn’t. But it was a close call. After a couple hours of monitoring the contractions had lessened and my blood work had come back within normal limits. We almost met our baby 3 weeks early and with all the swelling and discomfort I was feeling lately I was fine with that.
And the pregnancy symptoms weren’t over yet. Oh nooo they weren’t A week before I gave birth to Vivian the weirdest thing started happening to my skin. It started off as one little red bump on my foot on a Saturday night which I didn’t think much of. It hurt when I walked on it but I figured I might just have something stuck underneath my skin like a hair splinter (google it). The next morning I had bumps all over my hands. What the hell was going on? I remember asking Brandon if he had HPV and didn’t know it. I wish I could apply the crying laughing emoji right now. Imagine his response. So good. The answer was no, obviously. Anyways, that night after I got out of the shower I noticed the bumps had spread onto my precious baby bump.
Now I was getting concerned. Again, what the hell was going on!? It was 7pm on a Sunday night so I called the on-call OB. She said it didn’t sound like an emergency but wanted me to see the dermatologist the following day. The bumps had spread to my legs and it turned out I had something called PUPPPS (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy). It was so painful and uncomfortable. My smooth and symptom free pregnancy was now a mess of swollen feet, Portillo’s puke, and little red bumps. You can come out whenever you want baby.
1 week later (3 days before my due date) I would get my wish. Stay tuned for labor and delivery tales and life with Vivian thus far!