Morning, All-day & Night Sickness

The first trimester was a rough go for me. I loved knowing that I was pregnant and couldn’t believe I was actually able to carry a child.

The gratitude has been overwhelming!

After it was confirmed with the ultrasound and heartbeat that our little one is alive and healthy, it hit me.

At 6 weeks, 4 days, I was slammed with an overwhelming wave of nausea.

The thought of eating made me want to gag.

No weird cravings, just full on food aversion. The thought of a food item made me want to gag.

If I could stick a line straight into my body to get the nutrients I needed to grow this sweet baby, I would.

I don’t want to shop, cook, smell, or think about food and what ‘sounds good’ to eat, ick!

I was able to stomach dairy (cottage cheese in particular) and berries.

Everything else was choked down for the sake of my health and this growing baby.

Going to the grocery store was a chore and something I had to gear up for.

I have read many people’s recommendations on saltine crackers and eating small meals throughout the day.

This wasn’t going to work for me.

Instead, I continued with my regular routine of having healthy, balanced meals and listened to my body and supportive friends who have gone through this before.

Even though the thought of food made me want to gag, when I sat down to eat, it wasn’t too bad.

Therefore, I just shut out my thoughts that were racing in my mind leading up to my meals.

What’s helped?

  • I start off my morning with 18oz of water
  • Breakfast is balance and simple with another 18oz of water
  • I don’t eat snacks
  • Boosted my intake of vitamin B6
  • Healthy lunches and dinners that are well-rounded.
  • Drinking at least 80-90oz of water a day
  • Eating every 4-5 hours
  • Going to bed early and getting a full-nights rest

Weeks 6-7- Berries and dairy were my saving grace, as was rice, tomatoes & cooked vegetables

Week 8– Banana a day, acupuncture, it’s getting worst though, the foods I could eat these last few weeks are non-starters now, don’t even bring them into sight.Image result for stinky food

Week 9- It’s really getting worse, I don’t know how much more of this I can handle. I can’t move without thinking I’m heading for the bathroom. Any smell or thought of food in my mouth makes me want to be sick and I end up choking down food that will give my body good nourishment. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries (notice a theme), rice, protein. I lay on the couch as much as I can. Sleeping is the best state for me.

Week 10*- I think it’s starting to get a tad better. I’m scared to get my hopes up. I think of the blandest, healthy food I can have. Spaghetti squash, ground turkey, rice, berries, frozen okra, yogurt. I have to lay down after every meal and if I’m sitting up for too long, I need to go lay down. How in the world do people function like this? I am wanting a medal for making it through this period of pregnancy, but have to remind myself that the majority of women experience this same thing… I’m not unique! My dad reminds me that although I’m not unique, this is unique to me and to let myself feel this experience and embrace it as my own.

The second half of the week is back to being pretty miserable. Horizontal on the couch as much as I can. Hubby got me a painter’s mask from the garage to help with the smells that come from our kitchen when I absolutely have to cook something. I don’t know how much longer I can stand this. Every minute of the day, I am reminded of how sick I feel and feel I’m on the verge of running to the bathroom.

The constant churning and unsettled stomach. It’s the stomach flu that won’t go away… for weeks.

God help me!

Week 11*- I thought I was getting out of the worst of it, and might still be. The nausea is so strong and I have limited food options left. White rice with scrambled eggs and a dash of salt. Blocks of cheese, yogurt, blueberries, oranges also seem to satisfy my stomach.

Trying to get as bland as possible without a major reaction to anything too flavorful otherwise, I end up with an upset stomach and the beginnings of acid reflex.

Back to acupuncture, 2 times this week. Hoping it will help my hormones calm down and become a bit more regulated.

The progesterone oil shots conclude this week too, thank you God! That has been a long, committed effort that I am grateful to have ended.

Now, I thank God for the fact that I’m pregnant and that this pregnancy appears to be healthy by the result of my nausea.

Week 12*- White rice, scrambled eggs, frozen cut okra. Thankfully I feel the all-day nausea is subsiding and now it is just back to smells and food aversions only. I’m praying this means that it will be only getting better from here and I’m able to start eating my regular foods again.

I am looking forward to getting back to a workout routine of sorts as well. Praying my body holds up for me to enjoy some activity throughout the week. I can’t believe it’s been over 6 weeks since I saw the inside of a gym or even sweated a tad. Grateful I know how to slow down and be ok not being at the gym (that’s healing for me!)

*It was helpful that during weeks 10-12 we began telling our dear friends and family that we are pregnant. This helped make it seem more real and exciting and the sickness (which lasted pretty much all day), seems less.

Week 13-14- I have found the glorious already-cooked section at Whole Foods to be a lifesaver. Although I am not able to smell the cooked items without feeling sick, I can eat it! Beef roast, pork, chicken, and turkey! Protein is my friend again. Veggies are still touch-and-go as they do have a few cooked items but my stomach is not able to handle larger quantities.

I continue to feel nausea and have actually gotten sick a couple mornings these past few weeks, but overall, I feel it’s getting better.

My prayer is that by week 15 (starts today) and into week 16, I will have my appetite back!

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Nurse Hubby

The final round of Clomid is complete and ‘the week’ is here. We have been excited to see what everything looks like that’s been growing. I headed to the doctor, hopeful there would be at least 1 viable follicle and a good thick uterine lining. I have been praying for my womb each night before I go to bed, for God to prepare it and do whatever was necessary to be healthy and fruitful.

Two follicles! Wahoo. Excited to see the Clomid had worked and my lining is 6mm (healthy).

The bummer is the follicles are too small (on day 13), so I made an appointment for day 15.

Within the 2 days, they grew a little more, yippee!! But still not big enough to trigger an ovulation.

Major bummer! What are you going to do? Unfortunately, we are in a circumstance where we are not able to come in to the doctor in the next 7 days, so do we risk foregoing an ovulation? I say this because I have needed help from an HCG trigger shot for all these previous rounds of Clomid so if I don’t get that boost of a hormone, I don’t know if my body will ovulate?

After a little bit of convincing, they send me home with an HCG trigger shot to administer on our own. Ah, what? I am not great at inflicting pain on myself and my Hubby is not too excited about sticking my backside with something that makes me bleed.IMG_1703.jpg

They walk through the instructions of how to suck up 1cc of the sanitary water into the syringe using the thicker gauged needle and then squirt it into the vial that has the powdered medication. Roll it in my hands and then change the needle to a smaller (22) gauge needle to suck it all up and then poke it into my bottom. They said ‘we don’t want to put you through a larger gauge needle’ when giving me the smaller.

Thank you, I thought.

We have now crossed over to the next level of medical.

Praying that I would ovulate on my own between now and day 19 (which was the last day they wanted me to go before triggering).

Day 16– no blinking smiley face

Day 17– Blinking smiley face! Oh come on Solid smiley face…

Day 18– Blinking smiley face…. bummer…

Day 19– Blinking smiley face…. (sigh).

It’s time.

We watched a few YouTube videos on administering shots to the bottom. Hubby washed his hands and we found the right spot that he would stick me.

I prepared the medicine as outlined by the nurses and handed the shot to Hubby who was sitting on the toilet seat in the bathroom.

(Plop)

Uh, what was that? I turned around.

The shot was not in his hand and his eyes were pointing toward the ground.

There… sticking straight out of the white shag bathroom mat, nose down, our HCG shot.

Are you serious?

I bend over, try to pick it out of the rug and it’s stuck. I wiggle the needle point out of the mat as it’s tip had bent making a tiny hook around the mat fibers. I narrowed to the point of the needle, it was no longer sharp.

Hubby quickly reminded me we cannot try to use it as it’s not sterile (even though I was contemplating just doing it anyway).

What are we supposed to do now? This was our last round of Clomid and now we cannot even ensure an Ovulation. We may have just forgone our chance this time around.IMG_1704

My heart sank.

Hubby felt horrible… It wasn’t his fault.

There is one more option.

The larger gauged needle.

The same needle the nurses laughed to me about not ‘putting me through that’.

It’s our only option if we want to force the Ovulation with the HCG.

With sweat beginning to surface on my hands in anticipation of this thicker needle entering my skin, I changed out the needles and gave it to Hubby.

What was it going to feel like? How sore would I be? Would that much larger of a needle really hurt?

He poked once… not going in.

He poked twice…. not going in.

In a serious tone, I said, “just force it in there, like a dart”.

He poked a third time and it went in!

Thicker than what I recall… absolutely!

The medicine was administered.

My bottom was sore.

But these are the lengths we go to, right?

The sacrifices for another human being are great and they begin well before they even enter our wombs and lives.

The supplements, the healthy eating, the exercising. All the recommendations of what we can be doing to help foster a healthy environment.

Re-researching the HCG to ensure we had it all correct… ovulation occurs between 24-36 hours after administration of the HCG and the egg lives in a woman’s body for 12-24 hours. So essentially, plan for timed intercourse 24, 36, 42 hours after the shot.

Hubby thought he was done but he still has work to do. At least we are still having fun with this whole process.

I’m grateful that we are a team and God is strengthening our marriage each step of the way. Our conversations about kids and having a family is raw and realistic as we don’t know what our future holds. What we do know though, is we have each other. For today. We can enjoy what is in our life and accept the story God is still to write.

Miracle Grow

Hooray! A period comes and I am officially able to start my new cycle. What a relief that is to know that I get another opportunity to become pregnant.

I’ve been sensitive to the words I am choosing to use.

  • I talk about us going through fertility treatments as opposed to we are struggling with infertility.
  • I say that I ‘get’ to have a period to kick-start a new cycle as opposed to having to have a period which means we aren’t pregnant.
  • I remain hopeful for the journey to be an experience that will shape my character as opposed to a victim-fill, woe is me, this is so hard and why-is-it-happening-to-me type mentality.

I call my OBGYN and they get me in for an ultrasound. Everything looks clear and ready for a new round of Clomid.

Let’s do this!

My lining is still incredibly thin (what’s new there?) so they want me to up the dose of estrogen to two patches and begin on Day 10.

I also provoke the conversation around the dosage of Clomid. In my book, it needs to be increased. That is without medical training or understanding of the medication but what I know is I’m not yet pregnant and want to explore every option.

My OB takes a look at our last cycle and agrees. My follicle only grew to 20

00003228.gif

mm before they gave me the Trigger shot and for being on Clomid, that seems a bit sm

all to her.

The script read: 150mg of Clomid

Three chalky white pills a day for 5 days… miracle grow.

Grow follicles, grow!

Deleting the Numbers

calendar31.jpg

I’ve deleted all the cycle planning days on my calendar. I know, a big step for this lady who likes control… some may call me a “control ‘freak”, but hey, that’s typically useful to me to get things done. I tend to like to know what’s coming up and prepare as much as humanly possible.

After 4 rounds of Clomid, I’ve learned that there are some things (ok many things) that I just can’t control.

A new day comes every 24 hours, and a new week every 7 days… My plotting on a calendar and counting the days from Day 1 to Day 12 to Day 16 to Day 25 to Day 35 is not helpful. If anything it’s caused me more angst in anticipation and worry for no reason.

I also, know that I have heard from many people the art of relaxation. When people let go and relax, things seem to happen more smoothly.

In an act of relaxation, I take a deep breath as I close my eyes. Getting my mind focused on what’s really going on.  My life is not all about me and what I want. There is more to my life than being a mom and for today, this is where God wants me to be.

The root of this control is fear.

  • Fearful that I won’t be able to have my own children and fearful of being left out of the rest of the ‘experience’ of mommy-hood.
  • Fearful that if/when we adopt I won’t be able to love them as my own flesh and blood.
  • Fearful that we won’t even be able to adopt because of how expensive it is and that we won’t be able to experience the joys of growing our own family.
  • Fearful that my friends will move into this stage and I will be left behind, yearning to be apart of it, but completely helpless in making it happen.

One thing I know for sure is God is love and He cares for me. I shall not be afraid. Fear is not from God and although I may have those fearful thoughts, they don’t serve me to think about them and ruminate over them. It’s best for me to let those thoughts out of my head and turn my thinking into gratitude for the things I do have and the blessings in my life.

I’m grateful for:

  • a house to live in
  • a husband to love
  • friends who care about me
  • a career I enjoy
  • the opportunity to serve others
  • 10 fingers, 10 toes, legs that walk, arms that move
  • a car to drive and gas in the tank

I choose to delete all 1’s, 12’s, 16’s, 25’s and 35’s from my calendar.

I used these to help us plan out when we would be going through future cycles. What I’ve learned through this past few weeks is that my body does not work on a traditional calendar and therefore I cannot predict things one way or another. I have to just be in the experience, taking in the moment as it is and not looking for the next to be the answer.

A small way I can let go and just be in the process.

False positive…

OUCH! The pain is incredibly sharp. I have no idea where this came from. It started around 2:30pm and seemed like hunger pains in the middle of my stomach. Very strange for me to have these pains as I haven’t had hunger pains in a very long time. Those of you who know me, know that I’m very structured around when, what, and how much I eat so this seems strange.

I drink water.

Doesn’t go away.

Turns into a major aching and it’s clear it is no longer hunger pains but something else rolling around in my stomach. It feels as though there is acid eating away at my stomach lining, burning through each layer. The thought of citrus or tomato makes my stomach turn. I’m not nauseous, just extremely agitated.

They subside after dinnertime.

2:45pm the next day, same pains, same ache, same routine.

Could I be pregnant?! Is this what people are talking about when they say their body is being taken over by a parasite because there is no doubting that it feels as though something is sucking my insides dry.

If I am pregnant, this pain is worth it and I’ll gladly endure the unrest to have something growing inside of me. If not, then what in the world is this?

Could it be my body is flushing the mixture of hormones I was just given between estrogen and the HCG shot?

This continues for a week and by now I am anxious to pee on that darn stick to know if all this is because of Maxwell Bean growing in there.

One week later (after returning from a weekend trip), both my hubby and I get the stomach crampy pains.

Wait… what?

Could it be that it was just a stomach bug that started at 3pm every day and subsided at 6pm and is now moving to later in the afternoon/night?

I am incredibly confused and bummed that it could have just been a stomach virus all along. Not to mention the fact that both of us are feeling ill and impatient to know if we are pregnant.


I have 3 First Response Early detection pregnancy tests staring at me in the bathroom.

I could use one every other day from 6 days prior to the projected start of my next period, all the way up until the day I am to start… I do it.

Wait for it….

Wait

For

It

WAHOO! There is a line…

I am beyond thrilled

and jumpy as I see a (faint) line.

Ok so it’s not very visible, but I CAN see it, Hubby can see it… we are

Cautious.

I don’t believe it; I won’t believe it until I hear it from the doctor.

Immediately we pull out our laptops and begin researching ‘faint line on pregnancy test’ and come up with multiple affirmations that a faint line is still a line and means we’re pregnant!

But then I scroll down to see that people who have received the HCG Trigger shot may have remanences of the shot in their system up to 14 days after the test! (Based on 10,000 units can last 10-14 days).

Here we are 10 days after the shot.

My heart sank.
It’s possible this line is picking up the HCG from the shot and not that I’m pregnant.

BUMMER!

The doctor said to wait a few days and test again, if the line gets darker than it could indicate that we are pregnant, signifying the HCG is increasing.

2 days later I test.

I get a line!

It seems a bit darker this time around and we are a bit excited but know that the real test will come on day 14.

At this point, I am pretty hopeful that we are pregnant and trying not to start planning on when Maxwell Bean will be due.

The stomach ick continues, although it seems to have shifted as it’s more at night and I’m starting to question if I got a stomach bug (diarrhea and all, yuck).

Today I did have excruciating cramps in my stomach as though something was clawing at my stomach muscles from the inside out.

…I got excited.

Is this the implantation cramping I’ve read about?

Or is it my pre-menstrual cramps?

I’m continuing to pray for Maxwell Bean as I am choosing to believe I am pregnant until proven otherwise.

My back aches… and I don’t feel well.

My thoughts turn negative. I am already scared to lose the baby.

I have read too much about miscarriages happening in the early weeks of pregnancy.

In many cases, the early pregnancy tests are hurting our social psyche because they detect very low HCG levels, leaving great risk for miscarriages the days leading up to the next month’s scheduled period. Most don’t realize they are miscarrying because the period covers up the bleed.

Up to 75% of implantations lead to miscarriages.

I am really not wanting to feel the pain of being in that statistic and therefore am scared to get excited about the faint lines out of self-preservation.

I don’t want to get excited just to miscarry and lose hope of what’s possible, lose a life, and have to go through this process again.

I feel selfish saying that as I know I haven’t been through that much, compared to others.

It is a growing longing, to carry our own baby- a mixture of my hubby’s and my DNA.

Day 14- recommended test day by my doctor

I pee on the stick and flip it over until my hubby wakes up so we can see it together. At this point, I’m pretty confident that we are pregnant, especially since the line 2 days ago was stronger in color.

We count….. 1

…. 2

…. 3

No line.

My heart dropsIMG_1482.jpg

and I feel duped.

I really thought we were pregnant and I am sad.

I don’t really know what to do with my emotions and am frustrated that we have to wait and go through this for another cycle.

I’m angry that my doctor didn’t increase the dose of Clomid to elevate our chances (as it that would have really helped).

Frustrated that we are going through this.

I hope no one takes this personally, but I am a tad peeved when I hear others who weren’t even trying to get pregnant and one day the girl thinks, “hum, that’s strange I am usually regular with my period and I haven’t had it for a few days” then goes and takes a pregnancy test and guess what…. Pregnant.

Grr.

I know my friends who have had this wonderful surprise happen to them know that I’m not upset with them, I just wish I didn’t have this struggle.

The anticipation, the counting of days, the build-up.

Yet, maybe this is exactly what I need to allow my longing to grow more intense and for me to be able to feel the disappointment so that when are pregnant I will feel overjoyed because of the struggle.

I am going to choose to believe that this painful longing and disappointment is here for me to only experience a heightened proclamation of God’s amazing work.


So now we must wait to see if I get my period, naturally.

If I don’t either:

A) we are pregnant or B) we have to force it with Provera.

I will admit, there is still a twinge of hope that we are pregnant and it’s just not showing up on the pregnancy tests. If I don’t bleed, we will test my blood next week to see if it detects something these sticks don’t. If I do, we will begin Provera to start the next round.

It is possible we are still pregnant but I’m not going to get my hopes up. I can’t afford to invest my emotions in something that seems too volatile at this point.  I just wish I wouldn’t have put so much hope in the 6-day early Pregnancy tests.

Although 2 weeks seems like a long time to wait, it’s worth it to not get a false positive, twice.