The Post I’ve Waited Years to Write
No use in beating around the bush on this one or trying to be too clever, I’ve been bursting at the seams to share this news with all of you for many, many, MANY weeks….
Can you tell how Oliver feels about it?
No seriously Oliver, try to convey your disappointment a little bit more. #captainstinkeye
I still cannot believe the amount of shade that dog is throwing in this picture. We nearly died from laughing.
Back to me…yes, FINALLY it happened! I still am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact after having worried and fretted and cried about it for so many years. There has been so much stress, sadness and momentary glimmers of hope regarding our ability to get pregnant, that to have it be real- like, really REAL, is mind blowing. And despite the numerous ultrasounds, tests and affirmations from doctors- I still can’t believe I am finally going to be a mom.
OK, let me back up because there is a heap of things to fill you in on. If you aren’t interested in the nitty gritty of the IVF process you can just stop here and go celebrate with a glass of wine for me since I can’t. :) Allow me to back up to the fallout from our first IVF round and subsequent failure. After being crushed by the huge disappointment that that cycle was, I needed time to process and digest it before jumping into round two. So I really thought hard, talked to other IVF-ers and listened to you readers too! And actually, it was on the advice of three or four of you on this blog that I believe made all the difference for us. Although we had been going to a top-raked fertility clinic at one of our city’s best hospitals- I hated it. I felt like cattle- barely recognizable from the other throngs of anxious and hopeful women in the waiting room. And while my doctor was incredibly skilled and highly rated, I just did not connect with her and their process was very stressful. And so I took the advice of you readers who recommended Dr. Rachel Ashby at Newton Wellesley Hospital and I cannot even begin to convey how amazing, wonderful and easy that made my second round. And I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to those who shared her name with me. So now I am returning the favor to others who were in my shoes.
In our first cycle we had a lot of embryos- 14 to be exact. But not only did the one we transfer not stick, but NONE of the others made it to freeze. Which was to me, even more upsetting than the single transfer failure. I thought for sure I’d have several back ups, keeping me from needing to do another brutal full cycle. I freaked out completely, assuming that there was something really, truly, perhaps molecularly wrong with me. The doctor had no explanation, which perfectly aligned with their lack of explanation as to WHY I wasn’t getting pregnant in the first place, despite our perfectly healthy bodies and numerous glowingly positive test results. I could not have been more frustrated and felt more out of control. And I do not do well with feeling out of control.
So I made a big change by switching clinics. And when we first met with Dr. Ashby she not only gave it to us straight, she explained things- exactly why she thought we weren’t getting pregnant and why our last cycle had not worked well. Now, nothing was 100% certain, which is always the case in IVF, but I felt so much better with a doctor who took the time to talk through the possibilities and had a confirmed action plan. Not to mention, make me feel like this wasn’t a lost cause. And then she did the unthinkable- she gave me her direct e-mail address.
It was like that scene in As Good As It Gets when Helen Hunt is given the home number for that doctor and absolutely loses her shit. That was me. I looked at Andrew with tears in my eyes because the most frustrating thing about our last clinic was that my doctor would not talk on the phone or e-mail- EVER. Even after I miscarried, I had to make an appointment to see her in order to talk to her, and the next appointment wasn’t for FIVE WEEKS. So to have a doctor who was open to questions and worries and responded immediately via e-mail and phone was like waking up on Christmas morning for me! And throughout the cycle she not only would write me back in minutes but also call me to check in and see how I was doing. I felt so cared for and trusted her so much that I truly think that made a MASSIVE difference in the cycle. Yes, my drugs were changed a little, but the biggest difference was my mental state. I felt so much calmer, still worried it wouldn’t work, of course, but I knew I had finally found the doctor who would do everything to try to get me across the finish line. I had found my team.
On top of this I did acupuncture every week up until I hit 12 weeks. I also found a wonderful practitioner for this, Lili Cai at the Domar Center in Waltham. Another person who knew her stuff back and front and put me totally at ease. I was diligent about keeping these appointments exactly as she outlined them. And even though some days I would be so anxious, antsy or sad, I would go and lay in that dark room for 45 minutes, stuck like a pin cushion, trusting it was helping in some way. Namaste.
As we approached the day of the transfer I got super anxious. We had gotten tons of eggs and yet again, we had 14 embryos growing. On the fifth day we got the call to come in for our transfer and I nearly passed out from apprehension. What if they all died again? Should we transfer more than one? Will we even get to transfer one? As I waited for the doctor I thought I may need to call for oxygen and some paddles for resuscitation. And then Dr. Ashby came in and smiled and said “what a difference a new cycle makes!” Not only did we have a “very near PERFECT” embryo to transfer, we had three fabulous back ups to freeze. The relief that flooded out of me was like a tidal wave. I was so full of happiness and adrenaline I think I could have climbed the wall.
We decided to transfer the one “almost perfect” one since we had three back ups. As our doc said, doing a frozen cycle is like” getting a pedicure compared to a full cycle!” and having twins, as she did, was not a day at the spa. Knowing I’m a busy woman she really advocated for trying one at a time, and we listened and agreed. And that was that.
Two weeks later, to my complete shock, we got the call that we were pregnant. A very, very strong positive this time, unlike the first pregnancy. I didn’t feel any different, so it was so hard to believe they had read the test results right! For the following four weeks I felt great- but so cautious- worried that at any time it would go away. The thing about IVF is that it becomes so hard to trust your body. It’s betrayed you by not doing what it was supposed to do naturally so it feels in way, like you’ve used science into tricking it to get pregnant. And any moment it’s going to wake up to what’s going on and be like “Oh, that was close Erin, you almost had me!” It’s really, really hard to believe that after all you’ve been through that somehow tragedy will not loom.
But it hasn’t. Everything has been the picture perfect norm of a typical, healthy pregnancy. Including the delightful all day nausea and puking that comes with morning sickness that showed up all of the sudden. I learned some really interesting things in weeks 6-12 such as:
-It’s completely possible to actually barf all your mascara off. Like, for reals.
– Coffee can go from the best smell in the world to something akin to a body rotting on a summer day.
– I actually can go three months without drinking wine. And I actually don’t really want it. This fact is quite surprising and reassuring in that I am actually not an alcoholic despite my wine-centric Instagram account.
– Carbs are my life and vegetables are evil. If you’ve run into me lately and I appear to be covered in horrific dandruff flakes, that was just saltine crumbs. I have them on me at ALL times.
– It’s possible to need to sit down and rest when just walking from the car to the house. And a 7:30 p.m. bedtime is perfectly normal, right?
– If you see “AMA” under “patient diagnosis” on your chart don’t assume it’s a rare disease like I did- it just means the very offensive “Advanced Maternal Age”. Awesome.
My life as of late
As I transition into my second trimester I feel a whole lot better (thanks in part to some new drugs too, if we’re being honest). So if you’ve been wondering why the blog has been a little less than sizzling the last month, it’s because I have had my head in the toilet every morning or been asleep. I tried to keep up best I could, but some days it was like pulling teeth.
And since I am old as dirt according to medicine, I got to have some really scary tests about chromosomes and genetics and all that jazz. Talk about a white knuckle week. But I am happy to say everything checked out perfect and as a bonus of said test, we get to find out the gender early.
And it FLOORED ME.
Baby BOY Gates is due November 15, 2015.
Yup, a boy. I was 1,000% certain it was a girl. So was Andrew. I would have bet my entire bank account on it. Which is odd, because growing up with three brothers I always said I only wanted boys. But I just really thought it was a girl. But life loves to freak you out, and so now it’s back to the drawing board on the ol’ nursery!
Before I go and take a deep breath that the cat is finally out of the bag, I do want to say that it is still technically early (my second trimester starts in a few days)- and something could still happen. I have been feeling very “jinx-y” about this pregnancy as I stated earlier, but I knew that should something happen later in pregnancy I would need to talk about it and write about it anyways. Because you guys truly are my friends- ones I trust, get hope and support from and rely on every day to be a sounding board and voice of reason. Thank you for being there and thank you for taking the time listen, share and celebrate with me.
So here we go…last fall I birthed a book that took nine months to create and this fall… a human.
What an amazing couple years it’s been.
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