The Stomach Flu

I’m not one prone to illness very often. I don’t really take sick days, like ever, unless I’m really sick.

I’ve been really sick.

Monday was a regular day at school, but I was dragging by the end of it. As I’m still technically in the first trimester, I chalked it up to baby exhaustion. I came home and napped for over two hours, which is unusual for me these days. When I woke up, I could tell I needed to throw up, but again, that’s kind of common for me the last few weeks. I went downstairs and had a violent puking episode, losing most of my lunch. I thought I was done and called my sister for a catch up. Over the course of our hour and a half conversation, I puked three more times, all violently (like gasping for breath). I also had a really upset tummy in conjunction. By the time I was gearing up for round 5, I realized this might be more than just pregnancy puking. My sister said to monitor it and see what happened. As the night wore on, I was throwing up every 30-40 minutes while also having a very upset tummy. If I tried to drink water, it came up. By 1:30am, I had puked up all the bile in my stomach and was just retching. J started to get worried and wanted to go to the hospital, but I didn’t think I could even get to one. I texted my mom and asked when I should be worried, as this had been going on for nearly 7 hours at this point, and both she and my dad were like, ‘Get to a hospital’. I called the number for my hospital and talked to a doctor who said to ride it out till morning and if I still couldn’t keep anything down, to come in. I stopped throwing up around 2am (I think purely bc there was nothing left) and fell asleep around 6am. I slept until 12:30 which was needed. J went out and got the Belgian Gatorade and popsicles, which I tried to drink and eat. Both came up shortly after. At that point, I called my doctor. He ended up telling me to come in so they could check the baby and make sure I wasn’t dehydrated. It’s a 30 minute cab to the hospital which I was DREADING.

We made it there and my doctor had told me to go to Maternity and that he’d call ahead to tell them I was on my way. He was leaving on vacation (who goes on vacation on a Tuesday?). He did not call ahead and no one knew what to do with me. It took us forever to even find the place we were supposed to go to, which resulted in me being on the verge of tears and then annoyance when I realized he didn’t let them know I was coming. You had one job, dude. They made me pee in a cup to check for dehydration and then did a scan of the baby. When they first did the ultrasound, she couldn’t see the heartbeat and turned the sound on. It was silent and a flat line. I felt my heart also flatline, because the baby also wasn’t moving. It was the longest few seconds, until finally, there it was. A strong heartbeat, as she told us. THANK YOU GOD. The baby was sleeping, which is really disconcerting to see actually. I asked if she wanted to wake it up but she said it wasn’t a big deal. She said the baby looked great, it was measuring fine, and the heartbeat was good. Seeing the baby sleep was just unsettling and I still wish we could have woken it up. I also thought I might have seen a nub for a penis between the legs, but I’m not sure how good I am at reading these things. Really would blow my gut feeling about a girl out of the water, wouldn’t it?

I’ve been out of school since Tuesday, and today I am finally feeling more human. They gave me medicine to help with nausea, and can be used for general pregnancy nausea as well. This has been the most helpful thing I’ve been given as I can tell it works. The negative is that it’s a suppository (like a butt one) and I just don’t understand why so many Belgian medicines I’m given have to go either up my vagina or my butt. Either way, it appears to be working, so I can only hate on it so much. I also got a medicine to cure my infected intestines. This too appears to be working. I’ll go back to work tomorrow, for a day. Probably for the best as my energy is the most lacking part right now. Evidently a lot of people are sick at school, so I probably caught something from the little munchkins.

It’s going to be a long three weeks until the next appointment, so I’m taking all positive thoughts and prayers for our babe. I’ve read stomach bugs don’t really impact them, and that babies tend to sleep a lot in the womb (what else is there to do), so I know it’s all normal. Just a worry wart first time mom. Sorry, kiddo.

Big Sweet Baby

Our baby is BIG! S/he was measuring at 12w6d yesterday! Based on the due date I was given at 6 weeks, I should have been 12w1d. Based on the due date I voluntarily changed to after our 9 week ultrasound, I should have been 12w3d. Either way, we’ve had another growth spurt! The due date still isn’t being changed, but I don’t really care as long as the babe keeps up the growing. Maybe that’s why my throwing up has increased so significantly.  I also have to wonder if the talking and breathing exercises I do each night are making a difference. I’m sure that sounds insane, but ever since I started talking to the baby and doing our breathing (breathe in love; breathe out growth), the baby has measured ahead of the due date the last two appointments. Either way, it was awesome. The baby looks like a baby now. We saw fingers and toes, a nose and mouth, little legs and arms, and a growing brain! It’s so amazing to be able to watch the growth and it makes me so happy every time.

I talked to my doctor about the increasing vomiting and nausea, and in true fashion, he was unconcerned. He said it can happen, but that if my anti-nausea medicine works, to just take it more frequently. DONE. I threw up four times yesterday alone (one of them was after we got off the bus to go to his office. His office is in the ‘fancy’ suburb of Antwerp, and I puked in a bag on the sidewalk on the main street, while standing in the window of someone’s office. I’m sure I made their morning.). The first thing I did this morning was throw up as well. It’s hard but I know it should only last a few more weeks. I’ve already taken my meds twice this morning and it is helping. I was also given a prescription to help with sleep, should I need it. I slept through the night last night, so fingers crossed. When I go to bed later, I’m able to sleep through. Maybe my body thought going to bed at 8pm was a nap. I think my body is just going through all the things right now.

We go back in a month for our week 16 update. I’m at a point where I’m thinking about telling people at work, but I go back and forth on whether or not I’m really ready. It’ll come out eventually, so for now I think I’m good with just a few people knowing.

Despite all the recent sickness, there is nothing that brings me more joy than seeing our baby growing. It is honestly the most magical thing I’ve ever gotten to be a part of. Yesterday I kept looking at the pictures thinking, ‘That’s my son or daughter!’ and it never is any less amazing each time I say it. My son or daughter is growing away in my belly.

Miracles really do happen.

12 Weeks and Slowly Dying

I’m glad tomorrow is my doctor’s appointment because this week has been miserable and it’s only Wednesday. I’m starting to get concerned (shock) that this isn’t normal and could use some reassurance. Also, medicine.

As of Sunday night, I have been experiencing insomnia on top of the ever present nausea and increased vomiting. I woke up Sunday night/Monday morning at 2:30am and NEVER WENT BACK TO SLEEP. I’d gone to bed around 10pm or so, so I got a whopping 4.5 hours of sleep, maybe. I felt like death all day but I made it. Happy first day back. I was falling asleep on the couch by 7:30 that evening, so I went to bed at 8:00pm and was out almost immediately. At 4:00am, my body woke up for the day. Granted, I got around 8 hours of sleep, but I was still tired. I remembered this thing called AMSR that my friend Karli had told me about and listening to that lulled me to sleep for an hour between 5:30 and 6:30am. I was encouraged by the longer stretch and thought I was coming out from under what could also be jet lag. Then I went to bed last night. I was tired early again, but I stayed up until closer to 9:00pm (wild child over here). I woke up at 1:30 in the MORNING. At first I thought, ‘this is great, I have 5 more hours to go!’ until I watched those hours pass without falling back asleep. By 4:00am I was just pissed. I moved downstairs to the couch because I was tired of tossing in bed. No amount of AMSR was working. I put Chopped on TV and ate some food because of course I felt awful too. I tried reading, I turned the TV off, I rolled around on the couch searching for the best position. My body giggled and told me to fuck off. Sometime around 5:30 (again), it gave in and I passed out until my alarm went off at 6:30. I was so insanely tired I couldn’t bring myself to get up and hit snooze. After hitting it twice, my sleep deprived brain decided it was tired of the alarm going off and just shut it all down. I woke up 20 minutes before my train left. I was still so tired that I just didn’t have it in me to care. I showered, got ready as fast as I could, and decided I would take the next train and be a little late to work. The positive of being sleep deprived is that giving any fucks disappears completely.

I’m at work and all I can think about is my couch. I have three more hours to go and I’m meticulously counting down the minutes. I’m insanely nauseous but have been taking the anti-nausea medicine I was given back in week 6. It helps for about an hour and a half, which is incredibly unhelpful as I’m only supposed to take 4 in a 24 hour period. The hour and half that I’m not feeling like gagging or puking is great–I just need to extend it out by 4 hours. My body aches right now, likely from exhaustion and leaning over a toilet praying I don’t toss everything up. I don’t know if the flying back just threw my body and the babe into disaster mode or what but this has been a rough three days. I’m going to bed terrified of spending the majority of the night awake and I don’t know what I’m allowed to take, or if I’m allowed to take anything.

I feel like I must always say this, and so here it is: I am thrilled to be pregnant. Every night I talk to the baby, still. Every night I tell him or her how much I love them and that my only goal is for them to be healthy. If s/he is healthy and growing, I am a much calmer and happier mom-to-be. It turns out, though, that you can be over the moon happy to be a mom and still be sick and exhausted and miserable and not wanting to human.  They can, and do, coexist. I am just hoping that it is all due to a growth spurt and that everything with the baby is fine. I told my mom on Saturday, after throwing my stomach contents up twice, that I was becoming more convinced that I was having a girl and my payback for my teenage years was starting early.

I can’t wait to see our little one tomorrow. I’m happy the first trimester is nearing its end. I’m hoping my doctor can prescribe something to help with the nausea and the insomnia in the meantime. 😉

Weeks 10 and 11

Well we are back from Cleveland. My first time flying unmedicated in at least 5 years went better than I thought it would. I was able to stay calm for the baby even when I wanted to freak out every time we hit turbulence. Fortunately, we didn’t have a lot of that throughout our six flights.

I found that after a pretty nauseated flight home (resulting in my first major throw up session at the airport before take off), my nausea faded upon landing in Cleveland. I have to wonder if it was partly a mind over body situation because I was incredibly nervous about flying in the first trimester. I had been cleared by my doctor, bought compression socks, and gave myself a shot of Clexane to prevent blood clots, but I still worried about being in the air that long. I feel like I was so worried my symptoms would decrease that they did (or maybe the baby knew I had to hold it together for four days and gave me a break? Sure.). This resulted in me immediately scheduling an ultrasound at an imaging place that was reasonably priced. J thought I was losing my mind, but also realized that if I didn’t get the ultrasound done, I would freak out the entire break. We went to the place two days after landing. I’m actually so glad we did because besides easing my anxiety, we saw the baby move a TON. S/he literally flipped in my uterus, and we watched as s/he moved their little arms and kicked their little legs. It was a very active day for the baby and we both were a little in awe by it.

We hadn’t told anyone about the pregnancy since we were waiting until Christmas, but my sister was leaving two days before the holiday, so I decided to tell her ahead of time as I knew I would be telling my brothers early to have them help me with filming my parents reaction. I ended up putting one of our ultrasound pictures in a card that the baby ‘wrote’ to her and gave it to her as she was getting on the road. She was definitely pretty shocked but it was nice to be able to talk to her about the pregnancy. We decided to tell the boys that night as well. J and I went to dinner with my youngest brother and told him then. He asked why I wasn’t drinking so I just said ‘Well, because I’m pregnant’.  He didn’t believe me at first but was really happy for us when he realized we were serious. We came home from dinner and I took an ultrasound picture to my other brother and asked him to look at it. He was initially like ‘why are you showing me this picture?’ until I said that he was looking at my baby. He, too, was shocked but really happy for us.

Christmas morning finally came. I waited until everyone had opened all their gifts. I tied the box for my mom on Dallas’s collar and had her give it to my mom. I ended up just handing my dad his gift and made them open them together. It was a pretty awesome experience. My mom cried and my dad was super happy for us. I’m so glad I got to experience it in person. When my grandparents came over that afternoon, we had them open their gifts in front of family. My grandma screamed, which is what I thought would happen, and my grandpa looked at me and said ‘Are you trying to make me cry?!’ before giving me a big hug. I got teary at both reveals, but I have such a special relationship with my grandparents (we’re naming the baby after my grandpa for the middle name), so it was an emotional experience. I was also so happy to have it all out in the open!

The rest of the break flew by. Mom and I went shopping for maternity clothes, which are AMAZING. Why aren’t all pants maternity pants? They’re so comfortable! I was insanely bloated being back home and those pants made life much more comfortable. About four days before leaving, I started getting really emotional. It really hit me that I wouldn’t see my family again until after I was officially a mom and that freaked me out. I’ve spent so much time wondering if I would ever get pregnant, and then hoping and praying as each week passed with this pregnancy, that I never really considered that I’d be birthing the baby without seeing any of my family for a long time or having their support. I was sad that no one would be around to experience the pregnancy. Yes, I can Skype and send them pictures, but it’s different than actually being there. They’ll never feel the baby kick. They won’t be at the hospital after s/he is born. I had some pretty intense grieving, and it’s something that I continue to grieve. There are plusses and minuses to everything. Moving abroad is giving us our greatest plus with our baby. It is also resulting in a pretty hard minus. That’s the give and take of life, I suppose (deep thoughts).

We flew out on January 3rd which was a super difficult goodbye. I’d already been crying for days, but turns out, I had plenty left (much to J’s dismay). We had a really crowded flight to Chicago and I was squished in the middle seat between two strangers (J and I weren’t sitting by each other). I felt pretty bad upon landing, but so did J. We hadn’t eaten much yet, so we went and had lunch. I was doing fine, but in the middle of the meal, I started to get really hot which is my cue these days that things are probably going to go south pretty quick. I ran off to the bathroom and threw up everything I’d eaten so far that day. Tears were streaming down my face by the time it was all said and done. I felt better afterwards, but I find it so intriguing that this happened both times we were at the airport, coming and going. The flight coming back to Europe was shorter than going, which was nice since I don’t sleep on the plane when medication isn’t involved. The food was terrible on the way back, so I didn’t eat much. When we were about an hour out, they brought around these breakfast wraps. The regular ones were bacon and egg, and as I don’t eat pork, I asked for a vegetarian wrap. I knew they had them because they were in green boxes. I was pretty set on these eggs because I had only eaten rice so far and I was starving. The stewardess came back with a small fruit cup and I was so surprised I didn’t know what to do before she ran off. I literally started crying and told J I wanted eggs and didn’t want a fruit cup. Between that and just being exhausted, I nearly had a full blown meltdown over the fruit cup. I pulled it together, but not by much. So, hormones have definitely kicked in. By the time we got to Brussels and caught a train to Antwerp, we’d been traveling for 18 or so hours and I hadn’t slept at all. I passed out as soon as we got home. My sleep is still really jacked which has made for an unfortunate start to the work week but I’m hoping going back to work will force my body to adjust quicker.

In the meantime, my nausea has grown worse as I’ve gotten closer to 12 weeks, instead of fading like all the baby apps tell you should be happening (but as I do nothing on ‘schedule’, I would expect little else from my child). We went to the phone store on Saturday to get a new SIM card for my upgraded phone. As we stood in line, I started to break out in a sweat and overheat. J kept telling me to go home but I felt bad leaving him to deal with my phone stuff. I stood outside in the cold for awhile before running next door to a Subway and puking in their bathroom. I thought I was done and came back into the store, but within five minutes, the heat waves were back. I went back outside and quickly realized this was not going to end well, ran back inside to tell J I was taking off, and ran home. I ended up having another violent upheaval of everything I’d eaten that day. I didn’t move off the couch the rest of the day or all of Sunday. I only threw up a little on Sunday, which was a stark improvement but I felt awful all day. I’ve said I would take it as long as the baby was growing, and I will, but as the nausea intensifies, it is really hard to be a functioning human right now. Again, as long as s/he is healthy and growing, so be it. I have some anti-nausea medication that didn’t work the first time I took it, but I’m desperate enough to give it another go.

Our next appointment is this Thursday and we’ll do the blood work for genetic screenings. We’re starting to narrow down some names as well, which is exciting! It’s just really exciting to be this far along. We’re so glad that all our family and friends know about the baby now (we told our Nashville crew over NYE). I still pinch myself sometimes that there is an active little child growing (and who really looks like a baby now!). Can’t wait to see the changes this week!





The baby has grown! Based on our last appointment, I should be 8w4d today, but the baby is now measuring 9 weeks, which is closer to what I thought I should be. The baby looks like a baby now. It has a head and a body that you can clearly see. We heard its little heartbeat and it was just as beautiful as it was the first time. This appointment just made everything seem so real. The baby looked wonderful and I left feeling so excited (and nauseous because that is life).

We aren’t going to the fertility clinic anymore, and this was our first time going to my doctor’s private office. We got a little goody bag with some coupons and the cutest little pacifier I’ve ever seen. We also got a book that travels to every appointment and keeps track of all things baby at each appointment. I go back in three weeks and we’ll do the 12 week appointment. They’ll do the genetic testing and blood work in that appointment. We found out today that I am not immune to toxoplasmosis, which mainly means I need to stay away from raw meat. Easy peasy.

So I’m just on cloud nine right now. It’s really just the most amazing thing, and I can’t wait to continue watching our baby grow. We gave our doctor homemade cookies and a card today thanking him for all he’s done for us over the last 12 months, which has been a lot. Our flight is Wednesday, and I’ve got a shot to take for the long flight to help thin my blood. I’ve also got anti-nausea medication that I’m going to start taking. I can’t wait to show everyone the pictures of our little baby!

Nine weeks, y’all! We are so, so proud and happy.

8 Weeks

Today the baby wanted pad Thai shortly after I threw up mangoes (first time puking, yay), which apparently it was not a fan of. The nausea is real but usually backs off long enough for me to eat something insanely unhealthy (see above about pad Thai. This week has also consisted of Pizza Hut and kebabs. WHO AM I?). I can smell like a hound dog now, which isn’t always pleasant when you work around pre-pubescent boys. They all smell like sauerkraut. So does my husband if he doesn’t shower daily. Who knew? And that’s week 8 so far, in a nutshell.

Tomorrow is another ultrasound, and our last one before heading to the U.S., when we’ll tell my family at Christmas. I can’t wait see what this carb-loving little kidney bean looks like!

7 weeks (and some)

It is snowing like crazy in Antwerp today, which evidently never happens. I was hoping for a snow day, but I’m typing this from my classroom so no dice. I imagine the city is going to be at a standstill with all the snow. Antwerp seems to be a lot like Nashville in that respect, although this much snow would have had school out for at least two days. Maybe tomorrow?? One can dream. The good news is that this is the last week of school before the break! The last few weeks have been dragging by. I am so excited for a break, and we’ll be heading States-side next week!

We moved in to week 7 late last week. As I write this, I’m closer to 8 weeks now. I can’t wait for the scan next week to see the gestational age of the baby. I’m convinced I’m a little farther along than she’s measuring, so I’d love to see if she’s catching up any. If not, that’s fine too as long as she’s cooking away (for the record, it drives J nuts that I call this baby ‘she’. He’s convinced I’ve got a ‘he’ baking).

Overall, I felt better physically last week than I had during week 6. I caught a cold though and by Friday, I was feverish. It wasn’t a high fever, but I had the chills Thursday and Friday. I ended up not doing most of our busy plans for this past weekend as I didn’t want to get any ‘sicker’ and I was exhausted (I slept until after 12:30pm on Saturday, like a giant bum). Fortunately, I woke up Saturday feeling a lot better and the fever was gone. Last night I had a hard time falling asleep, which isn’t unusual for me on a Sunday night, but what was unusual was the nausea that was keeping me up. I felt awful. It was all baby related nausea, so I’m always okay with that, but it made falling asleep really difficult. I ended up going downstairs at one point and just standing in our bathroom convinced I was going to throw up. Fortunately, I didn’t, but I waited a little while before trying to get back to sleep. The nausea doesn’t bother me–for the most part, I find it more reassuring than anything else.  Today has been pretty much the same, although less intense as it was last night. I was able to eat some cereal for breakfast and a peanut butter pita for lunch with an orange. Honestly, the carbs are killing me. It’s all I find myself able to eat and I feel like a whale. Carbs and fruit. I know I’m going to get much bigger as time goes on, but I really don’t want a lot of weight gain in the first trimester. We were planning to hit up a work out class tonight, so we’ll see if it’s still open, weather permitting.

Last night, I bought the rest of the things to tell my parents and grandparents about the pregnancy. I bought my parents these little baby booties back in September, so I already had those. I bought wine labels and they come in a group of 2, so I’m going to use them for both parents and grandparents. The idea was for my grandma because she is the funniest person ever after a couple glass of White Zin and I know it will take her a minute to realize what the bottle says which will likely make for a pretty funny reaction. I figure my parents won’t mind a bottle of wine as well. The label says Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, Oh what fun it is to say that Baby P is on the way! Arriving July 2018. I also got my grandparents a little frame that says ‘For this child we have prayed‘ because they’ve done a lot of that. We all joke that my grandma has a direct link the Man Upstairs, because her prayers have an uncanny way of happening. It was pretty fun getting it all and made me even more excited to tell them about this amazing little babe.

For now, let it snow and all that jazz. Fingers crossed I can turn my alarm off tomorrow!

Nervous Nelly

I have found my nerves acting up more this week than they did last week. I think part of that has to due with the fact that there are two and a half weeks between appointments this time and that makes me nervous. Even though more appointments isn’t going to change anything, every time I see the little bean growing, it reassures me more. I have a more difficult time when there are large gaps this early on. Additionally stressful, although I know normal, is that many of my symptoms have decreased this week. I still have food aversions and don’t have an appetite like I used to, but the nausea is not as bad this week. My tiredness is still there, but I haven’t had to nap after school every day this week (although instead I’ve gone to bed at 9pm). I’m still battling a head cold, and waking up in the mornings feels like death. I feel the most nauseous most of the time when I wake up. There is this bug going around school that causes headaches, nausea, and upper respiratory problems, which I’ve wondered if perhaps all my nausea last week was due more to the bug, and the head cold was secondary to it. I just took the nausea and tiredness to be from the baby. I’ve also read symptoms can fade and then come back, so there’s not ‘set’ way to feel. The only major change I’ve noticed is my sense of smell has increased. I smell sauerkraut a lot (I think it is other peoples’ body odors), which is not pleasant and can cause me to start gagging. J has started opening windows before I get home because otherwise I stand in the doorway and gag for minutes on end before frantically running around opening all the windows myself anyways. My boobs are still sore, but not as sore as previously, and while J swears they’ve grown, it isn’t by too much. I’m kind of hoping that part picks up soon, as I’ve never had boobs bigger than a double A in my life. 😉

I have stayed off google for the most part and I find that it does help, although frequently when I do look things up, they’ve been pretty reassuring rather than the other way around. I figure the occasional google is better than me frantically calling my doctor. I want him to agree to stay on as my doctor and not ship me out for being too crazy. I still talk to the babe every night which also helps me. I’ve emailed my gym to tell them I’m pregnant so that they know before I return to working out. I’ve also looked up a number of prenatal yoga classes here, but many of them discourage you from starting until you’re around 12 weeks along. I asked my gym in the email if they prefer that as well, which is honestly fine by me if they do, but we’ll see what they say. I think my hormones have kicked in a little because I find that I’m more paranoid than I usually am and I say things without thinking the way I usually do. Maybe working out will help calm some of the hormones down!

We have a super busy weekend starting today which I’m super dreading because it exhausts me just thinking about it, but none of it is bad stuff, so I’ll suck it up and drag myself through it. Honestly, the quicker the days pass to get me to December 18th and our next appointment, probably the better!



We saw it. We heard it. And it was amazing.

I can’t explain what it’s like to hear my child’s heartbeat for the first time. It was just insane. She/he was really there and that tiny heart was beating away. When they first put the ultrasound up, I couldn’t really see the little flicker. I wanted to hear it more than anything so I asked a few times if they could do audio. Dr. C warned me we might not be able to hear it, but as soon as they put on the sound, there it was, thumping away. My baby, in my belly, whose heartbeat I could hear. Whoa. It was the best, and it really made everything seem so real. We also couldn’t believe how much the baby had grown in just a week!

Does that mean all my fears have disappeared? No, if anything, I’m even more invested in this little miracle, but I grow a little calmer as the days pass. My doctor said everything looked how it should look and that I needed to relax a little. I asked a lot of questions, and by the end of it, when I mentioned things I had read on forums, he told me I needed to ‘hit control, alt, delete’ and stay off all things internet and baby. He’s right, and even though I’ve been tempted, I’m staying away from everything. I’ve unfollowed all baby groups on Facebook and am not googling any questions I might have. We ‘graduated’ out of the fertility clinic, but fortunately, my doctor will stay my OB/GYN and deliver the baby (although I think he is questioning how fortunate this is after my question spree, but alas).

I’m measuring at 6 weeks, 2 days and am due around July 25th. Symptoms started to kick in this week. I’ve been pretty nauseous, but have not been throwing up which I’m grateful for. Most foods that I usually eat sound awful and I don’t have much of an appetite. When I do want food, I usually can only stomach carbs, which are not things I typically eat, but for now, if I can handle it, that’s what I’m eating. I’ve started to feel the tiredness as well. I came home and fell asleep after school every day this week, for hours at a time. I woke up this morning with a cold, but I’ve heard that can happen around this time. I’m mostly just stuffy in my nose and phlegm-y in my throat. I am hoping to get back into working out this week as I was cleared by my doctor to do so. It’ll really just depend on my energy levels. Regardless of it all, I’m grateful for every symptom and will gladly take them!

We are so excited, and so in love. We continue to be optimistically hopeful. The love for this baby is so strong and I am so excited to continue feeling the baby grow and see him/her in two weeks!


The Day We Found Out About You

I’ve kind of already written up about the day we found out that we were turning into a family of three, but I want to write it up without my sister’s part taking up the first half of it. Plus I just think it’s one of the most wonderful stories I’ve ever been a part of, and I hope someday our child reads about one of the happiest days in her/his parents lives.

Life was hard for us in November. Your dad and I were both emotionally worn down. I was struggling with what I thought was the onset of depression again. Your mom is no stranger to depression, but I’m pretty good at identifying and dealing with it. I was having a harder time doing so in November.  We had lost your brother or sister very early on in late September. I had ‘planned’ for a number of outcomes, but I hadn’t ever really entertained that one and it threw me. The journey to have you had been tough even before we lost your sibling. While I had been thrilled to start IVF and get that much closer to meeting you, I reacted poorly to most of the medication. I had tried to keep in the forefront of my mind that all the upheaval my body was going through now was to bring life into the world later. The bigger picture. When we lost the first pregnancy, it kind of knocked the wind out of our sails. Your dad sometimes has to be strong for both of us when I’m struggling, and he was just that. He never wavered in his faith that we would meet you at some point, or at least he never vocalized it to me. I started to doubt. As time continued to tick on and we didn’t seem to be getting any closer to having a baby, my emotional health started to plummet. The struggle started to feel too overwhelming and my fear that we weren’t going to get to be parents grew. By the time mid-November rolled around, and your aunt announced the arrival of your cousin, I was devastated. I couldn’t see the joy in her announcement because I was so angry that over a year after we started trying for you, we weren’t any closer to meeting you. I missed you and you were still just a dream. I missed your sibling and didn’t understand why we lost that pregnancy so quickly. I didn’t know what was in store for us. That you were in the wings, waiting.

I went to our doctor November 14th. We work with a pretty amazing doctor who has helped me many times when I was discouraged. He’s probably the driest guy we’ve ever met, but I appreciate his sense of humor and overall lack of emotion (most of the time). He never gave up, and even went so far as to tell us that he was making us his success story for the year, before you were more than a thought. When I went to see him that afternoon, it was because we were in a weird waiting game to start the next transfer and I wanted him to help us get the show on the road. He did an ultrasound and ordered blood work to give us an idea of when, or if, we’d be able to do a transfer before we went back the States for the holidays in December. I left thinking there was still a chance we’d get one in right before leaving. It wasn’t necessarily ideal timing, but it would be better than waiting until January or February. Usually I check my blood work papers, in fact I think I’ve checked them every single time I’ve ever had blood drawn (which by this point had happened a lot of times), but that day I was feeling so down, I never even bothered to check. If I had, I would have noticed he was checking my HCG levels, something that hadn’t been checked in awhile, including when I had been in his office two weeks prior. I left his office, after he refused to let me pay for the visit (told you he’s a good person), and slunk down to the office for my blood work. Depending on what the results were, I’d have to come back the following day to take some crazy set of pills to help get us ready to transfer.

The following morning I called his office. It was bizarre because I usually call and am directly given to my doctor. This time, I was transferred no less than 5 times before finally getting ahold of him. He answered the phone, and after my strong American accent made it clear who I was, he told me to sit down. At this point, I thought he had more bad news for me, so I groaned and said, ‘Oh no, now what?’. I was nervous and honestly, I didn’t know how much more bad news I could handle. That’s when he said, ‘You’re pregnant!’ and the world changed as I knew it. I was shocked, completely and utterly in disbelief. It had never occurred to me that I could be pregnant. That just wasn’t on the table for us. We’d been trying for you for closing in on 15 months at this point. Nearly 12 of those months had been with our fertility doctor with medications, monitoring, a surgery, and finally, IVF. We’d never naturally conceived that entire time. I couldn’t even begin to process that you were in my belly and I hadn’t had any idea. Apologies for the alcohol I’d been drinking. And Xanax that I may have taken.

I didn’t do much of anything for the rest of the day. I realized that my upset tummy was not due to trying out a vegetarian lifestyle, but because that’s my first symptoms of pregnancy. I’d had it the first time as well but never put it together that that was what was happening again. I spent the rest of the day not working and scheming to surprise your dad, although to be fair, your dad was going to have a heart attack no matter how I told him because he sure wasn’t expecting this! We had a friend in town visiting and I had her run out to the American candy store to buy a couple boxes of Reese’s Pieces. She also grabbed the onesie I had bought back in July, just for this moment, and met me at the train station that afternoon. I’d made a little card that attached to the Reese’s Pieces that said ‘I already love you pieces, Dad!’ and on the back was my estimation of your due date (July 22nd). We put that and the onesie in a gift bag (the onesie said ‘The little embryo that could‘ and I stuck a post-it on there that said, ‘and this one REALLY could’). As soon as we got to the apartment, I ran to the bathroom to take a pregnancy test, just to make sure your dad really understood what I was telling him, and didn’t think I’d officially gone off the deep end with my sister’s news. Those two lines came up within seconds and were the darkest lines I’ve ever had. I stuck the test in the gift bag before bringing it out to your dad. I told him I had gotten him something because he’d been so supportive over the last couple days, which he had. Our apartment was stocked with my favorite candy, snacks, and wine–which I would not be drinking anymore. Your dad is kind of easy to surprise because he never suspects anything, and so was the case with this. He opened the bag and pulled out the pregnancy test first. His first words were, ‘Oh, a thermometer!’ before realising what it actually was. He face completely changed and he kept looking from me to the test and back to me again. He opened the rest of it, and found the candy with your due date on it and I think that’s when it really clicked. He thought I’d done a transfer without telling him, so when I told him you weren’t an IVF baby, he was shocked all over again. This process had been hard on your dad too and he couldn’t believe you were in there. It took him a solid two hours before he really realised that I was actually pregnant. It was one of the funniest nights we’d had in awhile and we were both giddy with excitement. We just kept saying we couldn’t believe you were in there. We already felt like you were as close to a miracle as we’d ever get in our lifetimes.

Your dad and I were struggling–not as a couple, but in our own ways with the stress and disappointment of trying to have a baby. We wanted you so badly and every set back started to feel so personal. We felt like the universe sometimes just hated us. Your dad told me afterwards that he had even started praying because he just didn’t know what else to do.  It felt like nothing would ever go right for us, and then there you were. Your existence gave us hope, because honestly, its amazing you are here. The timing of it all, it was incredible. You’d been waiting for us to find you, all that time. The heartbreak and the pain–we had to go through it all to get to you. We already loved you before we knew about you but our love grew infinitely more that November 15th day.

I wrote a quote down in a post in October that I had seen that had given me some hope. When I went back and re-read it after finding out about you, I couldn’t believe how true it rang for us.

“…when a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born-and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that is can be born as perfectly as possible.”

Could those words be any truer?

You’ve only just barely started growing. Your heart should start beating this week, if it isn’t already. Isn’t that amazing? We’ve never been so excited to hear a beating heart in our lives. We know it’s still really early. Despite all that, you feel so meant to be. Every day I get a little calmer. Each night I talk to you and we do some meditating together (or as close to meditation as I can get, which to be fair, is not that great). You’ve started making your presence more known as food has started to become less and less of a friend to me, except for carbs, which I didn’t eat much of before now. You insisted on nachos last night, so I know you’ve already got fantastic taste. Afterwards, we slept for three hours on the couch because I’m also starting to feel the fatigue of you growing. It’s the best thing in the world. I’ll take it all day, every day, for the next 34ish weeks. All we want for you is to be happy and healthy. And for you to always know how insanely loved you are already. Thank you for coming to us at the most wonderful time.