It’s been a while!

All I do is work, work, work, no matter what…

Today I am packing and preparing for yet another work trip: another four days and four nights away from my wife, puppy, and comfy, familiar bed.

While I sometimes enjoy traveling, it just isn’t the same when you share the giant king size hotel bed alone. Somehow I can never position the overstuffed pillows the way my own rests under my head, and the other side of the bed is cold and flat, instead of warm and curved under the weight of my wife’s curled up, sleeping body.

It’s going to be the first of what is looking like four trips over the next three months.

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…but, as I told my wife yesterday when we got into a small argument about all of this traveling I’ve had to do (she HATES staying alone), we have to take the good with the bad when it comes to my job. I work in sales training for a fairly large company, and these trips are to help facilitate training sessions for our new hires.

The problem is, this is somewhat of an “add-on” to my everyday job (I also manage a group of anywhere between 10-14 people…at least, this year) and I have to leave that team to help with these training sessions, and I never saw a pay or title increase when I took on this added responsibility last year. So she wants me to push for more, and while I agree and plan to address the topic with my boss when I see her in person next week, I also feel like I am losing a bargaining chip when I announce my pregnancy, as I will be unable to commit to travel in the later part of this year, and will also need time away from my regular group (and I am the only person available to supervise and train them).

Any strong negotiators or badass lady bosses following this blog who have any advice, here?

Speaking of the pregnancy….

I’m 10 weeks, six days today. We’ve met some milestones since my last post. Last week, we officially graduated from our fertility clinic (a bittersweet moment, and I only cried a little…) and were FINALLY able to stop the progesterone shots, 2x/daily estrogen, and baby asprin.

I told my wife, I still sometimes put off brushing my teeth at night, because I sometimes forget that I don’t have to take a shot immediately afterward anymore. It’s been kind of glorious.

We are two weeks from being out of the risky first trimester and being able to tell our friends and extended family about the pregnancy. I have to admit, though: every day until then will continue to be a struggle.

I never considered how hard the first trimester may be. Not just because it is typically when most women experience the worst symptoms (though I’ve been quite lucky and have just been mildly nauseous and ridiculously tired); rather, you can’t yet feel the baby, hear a heartbeat, or have any inkling that they are alive other than ultrasounds. You don’t really FEEL pregnant (and sometimes I forget there is a tiny person living inside me). We were very fortunate and super spoiled to have had ultrasounds weekly throughout most of the first trimester. When we had our first OB visit yesterday, they were incredibly warm and welcoming and put me at ease right away, but they explained that neither a fetal heart scan, nor an ultrasound would be part of our first appointment, and I began to freak out a little since I’m headed across the country without my wife for the next few days and just want to know that I’m traveling with a living tiny travel buddy. They were so kind and understanding and squeezed us in for an ultrasound at a local radiology(?) facility, and I had my first trans-abdominal ultrasound (visualize a light shining down from the heavens and a chorus singing “ahhhhhhh!”), during which we saw baby moving around and his/her heart beating furiously at 155 BPM. The picture was not quite as clear as our prior trans-vaginal ultrasounds, so I am attaching the photo from last week (during which baby’s hand was at his/her mouth as the Doctor suggested…or perhaps they actually look like one of the Whoville Who’s from Dr. Seuss’ books…time will tell).

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I want to soak up every moment of this experience, but I’d also like to fast forward by a few weeks and feel some kicks, or SOME sign of a healthy, growing baby on a regular basis.

So…bring on the next ultrasound at week 12! We’ll hopefully hear the heartbeat and see another image of this sweet baby, and hopefully be able to put our first trimester fears behind us.

Love and baby dust to all. ❤

Stay the course.

So, we had a bit of an up-and-down week.

Outside of the baby making process, we spent two days last week babysitting two of our three nieces (my sister has two girls: one who is two-years-old, the other 8 months), and my wife’s brother and his wife have a little girl who is 18 months). My sister and her husband are fortunate to have jobs that enable them to be home a lot of the time to care for their girls (they work opposite schedules) but every so often they have a day or two that is “uncovered” and they can generally get a family member to take the shift. My wife and I have a ton of time left to take off since this year was so busy, so we agreed to come down for two days to watch them.

First of all: I have a ton of respect for stay-at-home parents. It was literally 9am, and I turned around and it was 4:30pm, my sister was on her way home, and I was trying to convince the two-year-old to keep her clothes on and throw something together for dinner before my sister made it home for the night.

Don’t get me wrong: every woman (and man) in my family is a working parent, and I 1000% believe they are warriors for working so hard, having to leave their kiddos in someone else’s care, and do everything they can to provide a good life for their kids, but staying at home all day isn’t just watching soap operas and enjoying treats while you lay on the couch. It’s hard work.

Anyway, it was so wonderful to spend time with them because they live about two hours from us, and we really got to have some candid conversations about how we want to raise our kids (how to discipline, whether or not to sleep train, what to feed them, etc.). You don’t think of all of the nuances involved in raising a child (or how much the child’s personality can quickly change your plans), but seeing our siblings do it (the good and the bad) is giving us a good foundation. Its also helping my wife learn how to change diapers 🙂

On Saturday, my sister traveled closer to us to spend the weekend at my mom’s for my niece’s birthday. We went to a winter light show with the girls, and it was a blast seeing my niece tear into her birthday gifts. Last year, she was still so little, and now – at two – she has a ton of personality, so she really seemed to enjoy it all.

I got her a doctor set that was based on the television show Doc McStuffins (my niece doesn’t watch it yet, but is already beginning to show interest in role play, and I figured she’d love the little case that all of the pieces fit into, as she loves purses). It came with an adorable doll in a little ladybug outfit, and the doll happened to be black. My niece liked the doll (but was far more interested in the doctor kit), but my mom saw it and asked why we couldn’t find a nice blonde doll that looked like my niece, and my sister and I gently explained to her that my niece already has plenty of blonde dolls already [and could honestly probably stand to have a dump truck or tool kit or two in her toybox], and my sister went on to say how she wanted to begin to expose my niece to the beauty of black skin  in an effort to help my niece to be more respectful and appreciative of everyone from a young age.

My sister and I never had dolls that weren’t blonde haired and blue eyed. We lived in a homogeneous neighborhood, went to a homogeneous elementary school, and didn’t learn about other cultures until we moved in high school. Our minds were further pried open in college, and I know I still have a lot to learn, but I want my kids’ experiences to be different. I want them to know about the evil in this world and want to do better. I want them to see color, appreciate it, and love people. period.  I want them to taste food from many cultures, experience art made by people of all backgrounds, and learn from everyone they meet. I want them to be better than I was as a child.

No pressure, right?

I mean, I’m kind of kidding – there really is no pressure. We just want to do things from an early age to expose our kids to many different people and things in an effort to cultivate appreciation and respect.

Anyway – we wrapped up the weekend baking cookies with our third niece (which was the cutest thing ever) so it was a pretty perfect week.

On Saturday, we put in an impromptu bid on a home that is one block from a home we missed out on earlier this summer in our dream neighborhood. It was a little small, and needed some work, but it was right within our price range and in the most ideal location we could dream up.

We went through about 3 hours worth of work reviewing the contract to place an offer, only to find out on Sunday that our offer was rejected because the seller didn’t like that we needed to first sell our home in order to buy.

I mean, I guess there are lots of first time homebuyers out there, but the home wasn’t really being sold at a first-time-homebuyer-kind-of price. We’re not bitter. I promise.

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ANYWAY – I got that news during a morning during which I had some spotting that was making me a little nervous. Between the spotting, and the bad news about the house, I was in a pretty terrible mood, and laid down to take a nap. When I woke up and went to the bathroom, I noticed about a tablespoon of blood in the toilet when I stood up and called my wife in. Her face looked so incredibly defeated, and I started to cry. I called my doctor’s office, and they weren’t very concerned, but I thought that amount of blood in the toilet was above-and-beyond normal spotting, and began plotting next steps and preparing my heart for the worst news.

I had an appointment the next morning to have my blood drawn and HCG levels tested, and asked the nurse to please take pity and call me early with the results: good or bad. She rang around noon and left me a voicemail since I was in a meeting, and started out with, “I do have your results back, and trying to give you a call as soon as I can. Everything looks great, your HCG went up to 7600″… I almost fell out of my chair and couldn’t even listen to the rest of the message right away. We’d anticipated that based on a rate of doubling every two days since my last appointment, it should have been right around 3000, so 7600 blew our expectations out of the water. The following day, we had our first ultrasound and the ultrasonagrapher advised us that we could expect to see a gestational sack, but that it would likely be too early to see anything else. We were stunned to see the gestational sack clearly situated in the center of my uterus, and a tiny yolk sack inside as well. She told us that she saw more than she was hoping to and that it looked “perfect”. We have an appointment a week from now to *hopefully* see the first heartbeat. Fingers crossed for continued good news.

She said that the blood could have been due to the embryo burrowing, and that sometimes they hit blood vessels and she advised that in those cases – the blood has to go somewhere, and it typically drains out.

Later that night, our doctor called us and congratulated us again, and told us how eager he was to see us at our next appointment (we haven’t seen him in FOREVER since he bounces between offices and we usually have appointments with the nurses). I was really happy that he called.

So…things are well, but we’re still too early to be celebrating. Our plan is to tell our families on Christmas (which will be 7 weeks and 1 day….early, but we would just love that support, and can’t wait to tell people).

Still no symptoms aside from exhaustion which kicked in this week. I’ve been peeing a lot, but that’s been pretty consistent since I started the Progesterone shots.

Speaking of, I also had my first progesterone-in-ethyl-oleate shot last night and it went surprisingly well. I don’t seem to have had any reaction and am hopeful that it will work as well as the sesame oil. Fingers crossed.

Hope everyone else is experiencing good news and enjoying the holiday season. I know that this can be a rough time of year for some: if that’s you, hang in there (and hugs!). If you’re a holiday nut like me, enjoy 🙂

 

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The results are in.

So I made it. I somehow made it the entire nine days since my transfer without going insane.

A work trip mid-week really helped to keep my mind occupied, but I still went to sleep and woke up fixated on whether or not our procedure worked.

As I mentioned in my last post: my symptoms have been…well, nonexistent. After our last transfer (when we miscarried an empty sack at 8 weeks) I felt light cramping (similar to period cramping except it was VERY light and not-very-painful), my boobs felt sore, and I was EXHAUSTED. All. The. Time.

This time, I’ve been tired (but that pretty much started the day I stopped drinking coffee about 3 days before the procedure), but not overly exhausted. No soreness. No cramps. I have felt a slight feeling of discomfort primarily on the left side of my lower abdomen (where I suspect my left ovary is) but am not sure why or what it means, or if it’s even related to the transfer.

So I was away for three days for the work trip, and the first day happened to be 5DPT (days past transfer) for me, which is when we got a faint positive the last time. I made a promise to my wife that I wouldn’t take a pregnancy test while I was away, but was so overwhelmed by the feeling that it didn’t work that I felt like the test would help to put my mind at ease one way or the other. I tested first thing in the morning (when I woke up at 5am) and climbed back in bed with the test. After my phone timer started buzzing, I reached over and turned on the bedside lamp, and looked at the test to see a single, lonely pink line. At that point, I began to feel pretty confident that it didn’t take. I had no symptoms, and I took the test around day 5 with not even a faint line. I just knew that was it.

After wallowing in sadness for the day – in between work meetings – I disclosed to my wife that I took the test and basked in her – seemingly undeserved – comfort, even though I broke my promise to not test while I was away. I then started to feel better and think about our next steps and we decided that we hoped to be able to transfer again as soon as possible and jump right back on the horse.

I woke up the next morning and decided to take one last test to confirm the results, and was surprised to see a faint pink line. I texted my wife a photo of the test with a message that said, “Um…maybe don’t count us out yet,” and got an immediate response of a surprised face emoji. We decided that we were excited, but very cautious. After all: we had a positive test the last time (4 to be precise) and ended up with a beta of approximately 20 (I can’t remember what it was exactly, now…its a few posts back if anyone wants to read it) and that led to our miscarriage. We decided that we wouldn’t get excited at all until we got a call with a solid beta number.

So today, we went in at 9:30 for my blood draw appointment – which ended up being pretty quick and painless other than a nasty bruise left where the needle went in.

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Afterward, we went to the mall for some shopping (which was literally the BEST as my wife hates shopping) and we picked up a few small Christmas gifts. As we were getting ready to leave the mall, I looked at my phone and noticed a missed call (with NO voicemail!) from the clinic, and we tried to call them back and remembered that they don’t take active calls over the weekend – they route them to an emergency call service. So we were left for another two hours panicking about our results, and kept going back and forth about whether the missed voicemail was good or bad.

Finally: we got a call from the nurse at the clinic who let us know that my HCG level was…..139!!!!

I immediately began tearing up and all I could think to say was “thank you”, to which she responded that the rest of my stats (progesterone and estrogen) also looked good and that I should continue my regimen of PIO shots, baby asprin, and estrogen pills. The nurse let us know that our regular nurse was in the office and was shouting “congratulations” in the background, and that the missed call was from the doctor himself who was calling to congratulate us. It was so incredibly overwhelming, and a place I never thought we’d get to (not even four days prior!).

You guys: we are pregnant. And my guarded heart knows that it isn’t time to celebrate yet: that we aren’t really out of the woods until we hear a heartbeat, then cross the 12 week threshold, then eventually hold a baby in our arms: and even then you aren’t ever fully certain how long you will have your baby. But we made it over hurdle number one. We made it with flying colors.

So on the way home, we stopped at one more store and picked up something small to celebrate this momentous day because we are living our dream right now. ❤

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It’s still so hard for me to write this, as I know so many people who aren’t there yet and we continue to pray with you, cheer for you, and send our positive thoughts and wishes that your miracles come quickly.

And please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as well. We made it over hurdle number one, but we have many more to go.

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