Pregnancy 2 // First Trimester

Figured I would do an update on how the first trimester was for Baby 2! Things have been different and more intense the second time around! Excited to share the details with you below.

WEIGHT GAINED

I haven’t tracked my exact weight for JUST the first trimester but at my 16 week appt I had gained 9 pounds which my dr said was normal and on track! I will say the pounds started packing on WAY faster this second time around. Almost to the point I was freaked out. But you have to think that everything is growing and taking shape faster and as long as I am on track with my doctor I am feeling great. It is always also strange coming off fertility treatment into pregnancy because I am not fully myself. I had been doing fertility medication for almost a year and that always adds some start weight. But, like I said, it’s all part of my story. All part of my process. And honestly, the fact that I am here, it all doesn’t matter. I am so grateful to be pregnant and have a healthy baby!!

HOW I’M FEELING: PHYSICALLY

Nausea

GOOD GOD. My nausea was 10x worse this time around. At 6 weeks, I went on diclegis prescription for nausea and took 2 pills at night. Despite being on meds, I still struggled through most of my first trimester with extreme nausea. Luckily I did not have vomiting but man… the nausea was REALLY bad. To be honest with you, none of the “tricks” worked for me either. Sure snacks, small meals, ginger, etc etc but nope. Massive unrelenting nausea. The hardest part about it is that being the mom to a toddler means you don’t have the luxury of resting like you do as a first time pregnant woman. Having to take care of an active child while struggling with feeling ill is miserable. I have to thank Blake for pretty much taking over the minute he would be done with work to help me as I was doubled over on the couch. It was rough. And rough knowing just how long the first trimester is. What I did make sure to do was ALWAYS have a snack in the mid afternoon. If I didn’t have some kind of snack between 2-4pm, I would be even more miserable. Saltine crackers were always on my nightstand along with bold chex mix, and goldfish. 

Growing pains

I experienced some more intense round ligament pain in my groin area this time around. I noticed it mostly at night. Especially when I needed to lawn, or sneeze or make a bigger movement I would get a twitch of pain from it.

Pregnancy Brain

Like my first pregnancy, pregnancy brain is a REAL THING. I swear the moment I got pregnant my brain turned to mush. It’s hard to explain but I can’t remember anything to save my life. Lol!

Exhaustion

I was a new level of tired being pregnant and chasing a toddler. Truth be told being in a pandemic didn’t help either. Not being able to take him places etc. I was very tired but the sickness bothered me more than being tired.

Constipation

Sorry if that’s TMI but wow the constipation was bad this time around. The first month or two was tough and I know it also has alot to do with how much progesterone is in my body. Since I wasn’t drinking coffee after my transfer right away, it was extra tough. I always feel like coffee gets me moving. HA! I know. So much TMI. You’re welcome.

Baby bump

This time around I feel my belly popped out a lot sooner! At 14 weeks I feel I had a tiny little bump. I am sure I will look back and be like, WOW that wasn’t much of a bump but it’s when I felt there was a defined transformation. 

HOW I’M FEELING: MENTALLY

I think similarly to my first pregnancy, after so much loss (with each of our failed embryo transfers) you keep waiting and holding your breath as each week passes you by. Each week it’s own milestone. And you find yourself thinking, “Oh I will feel good once I hear the heart beat!” “Oh I will feel good when I hit the second trimester.” But really, I think there is always a sense of unease as you move through the process. I think it’s healthy to be a little bit nervous. It’s honest. I think things have just been more stressful with the fact that we are still in a global pandemic because of Covid-19. That has put alot of stress on us keeping our family safe during these times and staying as isolated as we can while also being aware of taking care of our mental health. We are very fortunate living where we do to be able to spend time together outdoors and that has been great for the mind and body. Really, I go to bed, and wake up every day just so damn grateful knowing that I am growing life and repeating to myself that I AM PREGNANT. And THIS IS OUR CHANCE. This is our miracle. It’s been such an emotional roller coaster to get to this point and really, despite any outside stressors buzzing around, I am just so grateful and smile so big everyday knowing that next Summer I get to make Otis a big brother. 

WHAT I’M EATING

First trimester for me was CARBS. CARBS and MORE CARBS. Honestly most days I barely had an appetite because of how sick I felt but I know how important it was to nourish my body. So I would basically have to force myself to have my meals. ESPECIALLY when it came to dinner. I had no appetite at all at night. It was bad.

That being said, I didn’t have any coffee for weeks. First off because I avoid caffeine after my embryo transfer and didn’t feel comfortable drinking it until after I heard the heartbeat. At a certain point, when my nausea would allow in the am and I was in the mood for coffee, I started to drink it again. I started with decaf but then had some headaches and my doctor always encourages me to have 1 cup of caffeine to help with my headaches. What I was drinking and couldn’t stop was bubble water (or carbonated water) whatever you like to call it. I usually prefer lukewarm drinks but this pregnancy I was craving ICED COLD bubble water. We actually ended up getting this carbonated water maker and we literally use it EVERY SINGLE DAY. For some reason the cold bubble water just helped with my nausea believe it of not.  

Thankfully eggs were a lifesaver for me and I could tolerate them. My favorite go to breakfast that didn’t make me want to throw up: a piece of toast, a tiny bit of mayo, and a sliced hard boiled egg with salt and pepper. I basically ate that every day. I also had a lot of bagels with cream cheese when I wasn’t feeling great. Food was just tough so we didn’t meal plan as much so I could eat more what I could stomach that day.

As the first trimester went on, I was able to eat more regularly. I always try to eat protein for breakfast (like egg) to help really nourish me. I also try to make smarter choices and slip some protein in my afternoon snack. My favorites: string cheese, chocolate covered almonds, toast or apples with almond butter. Don’t get me wrong, some days I have a bowl of chips, a cupcake, or something else that is naughty. I think it’s all about balance and sometimes, you just have to indulge.

HOW I’M SLEEPING

First trimester sleep was rough. With the waking up to pee almost every night that was one element. It’s likely the hormone changes that always get to me. Last pregnancy I had to take unisom to get some form of normal sleep. Since I started the diclegis at 6 weeks with 2 pills at night, I found that helped me sleep MUCH better. So for now, I am sleeping ok. Some nights are better than others. I do toss and turn alot. 

EXERCISE

I didn’t really work out at all till at least around 10-11 weeks. Of course I was doing my daily walks with Otis etc and getting my steps in and my blood pumping. But I wanted to take it easy and honestly I didn’t have the energy to do anything before then. Starting at 11 weeks I started short 10 minute workouts on my elliptical that we have in our garage and Blake got me for Christmas. I try to do that, or just walk briskly on our treadmill for 10-15 minutes. There are weeks I barely get 1 “workout” if you even want to call it that. Basically I just try to get my blood pumping whether I am walking for Otis’ morning walk or doing something else. I also started prenatal yoga class (virtually online) every week and its been music ot my soul. Great stretching and a great time for me to sit and connect with my body and the baby. It’s something I really enjoyed while pregnant with Otis so it’s a sense of comfort being able to participate even from my computer at home.

MEDS IM TAKING

For most of the first trimester, I stayed on alot of my IVF medications. I stayed on my prednisone steroids till 9 weeks and then weaned down my estrogen patches as well as weaned down to 1 progesterone injection a day. During this time, I did get some hormonal headaches with all the fluctuations but luckily they weren’t horrible and only lasted 2 days. I finally was able to stop all my meds (with the exception of baby aspirin and my diclegis) at my graduation appointment from the fertility clinic at 12 weeks!!! This was a HUGE milestone after literally doing injections and taking medications for almost a year in prep for each of my FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycles.

CHALLENGES

The biggest hurdles this pregnancy have been knowing and believing that feeling like crap would likely get better at the end of the first trimester. After a year of hormone meds, and then feeling awful my first trimester, a UTI, a yeast infection from the meds of the UTI (sorry TMI!!) I got to the point where being in my own skin was just frustrating. Being pregnant is a WILD things because your body is completely taken over. It’s beautiful in many ways and also still really emotionally challenging in others. I am so thankful to see the light at the end of the tunnel of the first tri. But anyone else that is “IN IT” my heart hugs yours mamas. It’s tough!!

WHAT I’M WEARING

I feel everything comes on sooner with the second pregnancy and the need for stretchy things came sooner. When it comes to leggings, I still wear my pre-pregnancy lululemon align leggings which are high rise and so stretchy as well as my alo leggings that are really soft and a little lower rise. Both still fit comfortably and fit over my growing body. Toward the end of my first trimester, I ended up buying these maternity leggings from beyond yoga and I LOVE them. They feel like second skin and are so buttery soft. They come all the way up over your bump or you can also fold it down to go under. Highly suggest them as they are SO comfy.

Also because I don’t leave my house often (because of Covid-19) I wear a ton of sweats. These sets from Michael Stars have been a guilty pleasure because they are SO soft and made of terry material. I also love my sweat set from Tan Lines that Sivan sent over. The material is SO soft and I feel like a cool mom in them. Although Blake made fun of my crop top sweater. HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT IS COOL!!! I do enjoy wearing more cropped tops when pregnant to let the belly have it’s little bit of room. I did end up getting one pair of maternity denim from jbrand that actually fit great toward the end of my first trimester also. Will report back when I wear them out. Equally stretchy too.

I did buy 3 bras from skims that I have been loving too. This scoop bra, this triangle bra and this nursing bra are all GREAT. I wanted to see what the hype was about with this brand and I have to say the materials are ON POINT. VERY comfy. If you plan to order, SIZE UP and size up big time. I got at least size L in everything because my boobs are enormous now and I feel their stuff runs small. I also have a ton of bras from Otis’ pregnancy. From last pregnancy, I have my hatch and bravado bras that I wear weekly also.

It’s different for the second pregnancy because you start showing and feeling bigger sooner (at least in my case) so you are in that in between period of not fully having a bump but feeling large and awkward if that makes sense. I have to say, a perk of pandemic life is the fact that I am mostly in lounge wear so I have been able to avoid real clothes for most of the first trimester aside from doctors appointments etc.

SELF LOVE

First trimester was just really challenging with not feeling well constantly. Hard to give yourself self love, in a pandemic, with no childcare help. If anything, I tried to listen to my body, and lay down when Otis was napping and try my best to give my body the much needed rest it was craving. Nearing the end of the first tri, showers and a blow dry were my self care routine and even an at home mani/pedi. Feeling better was already such a treat and allowed me the time to do some other things for myself. I think it’s just so important to listen to your body and slow down when you need it. 

FIRST TRIMESTER PURCHASES

Purchases for me:

Skims scoop bra

Skim maternity nursing bra

Skims triangle bra

Beyond yoga maternity capri leggings

Aarke water carbonator

Lululemon align leggings

Summer fridays babymoon belly balm

Purchases for baby:

Kyte baby rainbow onesie

Kyte baby toddler blanket

Moby mickey wrap (blake bought this for me!)

Letterfolk sign

Masongrey baby bundle

BABY PREPARATIONS

So we didn’t do much to prep for baby in the first trimester except for me sharing our good news with my good friend (and interior design guru) Anne! She helped to plan out the interiors of our whole home including master bedroom, living and dining rooms, and most recently Otis’ nursery. I basically texted her and forced her to dream up Baby #2 nursery ideas so we are currently working on that! IT’S GOING TO BE EPIC.

WHAT’S NEXT

I am looking forward to more ultrasounds!!!! I can not WAIT for my anatomy scan at 20 weeks to get some more face time with baby. Other than that, it’s check off each week as an incredible milestone and try to remain as active as I can to help get my body strong for delivery again. It’s exciting to near the half mark and be buying things for baby, talking to Otis about the baby and just imagining our life together as a family. I honestly am still in shock everyday. I feel lucky everyday. Our rainbows have brighten out life immensely and I am so excited to continue to share our journey with you all. Big love from all of us.

IVF FET Round 4 (Third times the charm) IM PREGNANT!

As I sit here typing the words, “I am pregnant!” it’s words we have been dreaming about for almost a full year now. Literally working toward each month. For a year. My heart can’t stop smiling thinking about it, and I can’t wipe the smile off my face as the tears continue to fall down my face. Tears of happiness. Tears of joy. Tears of past heartbreak. All of it. I have shared a lot of my past infertility journey that brought us to Otis (which you can read about here) and I am committed to sharing our story with you as we experience it. These posts for me have been therapeutic to be able to diary as I have experienced it. Also, please be kind if I go in and out of tense as some of this was written in the moment and some of it after the fact. BEAR WITH ME. 

This Frozen Embryo Transfer was likely the most important of all of them. It was our last frozen embryo we had in storage. And our last try for a baby. The weight of that was suffocating. After previously going through 3 egg retrievals, after Otis I was left with 3 frozen embabies. Our precious little babies. Of course there are always options to keep going but I am of course already 37 years old and I STRUGGLED to get healthy embryos from my retrievals since my egg quality was pretty poor. I was also unsure if I was willing to undergo the whole egg retrieval process again but this now brought all those thoughts up. What if my last transfer doesn’t work? There was ALOT on our minds. Alot. So looking into our last chance with our last embryo had a lot of weight to it. After looking at our past failed cycles with our doctor, she had an idea to do something completely different. This both excited me and completely TERRIFIED me. But at this point, we really needed to throw it all on the line to put our best foot forward. I trust my doctor so I was willing to go down a new path. I think it’s always important to mix things up because you never know what your recipe for success will be. She wanted to try a “Natural FET cycle” meaning that we would supplement less with synthetic hormones and instead, let my body lead the way naturally and then only supplement with less hormones closer to embryo transfer. Since I have had issues getting a thicker lining with all the synthetic hormones, we were curious to see how my body does completely on it’s own. So the goal would be, track my natural cycle in a “mock” cycle where we were only doing bloodwork and ultrasounds to gather information and track my cycle. No embryo transfer. Just tracking for research. I was IN. 

Tracking my Natural Cycle

The process would be, wait till cycle day 3 of my period and come in for a baseline ultrasound and bloodwork at my fertility clinic. Then for me to do at home ovulation kits to track my ovulation at home as well as come in for multiple scans to see how my eggs were growing and tracking it with kits, bloodwork and ultrasound. In doing this, we found that my lining naturally looked FREAKING AMAZING. WHO WOULD HAVE KNOWN. Basically  my lining looked the best it ever had and I was almost upset this was a mock cycle and not a real one. That is how good my lining looked. After we confirmed ovulation with both my at home kits, and ultrasound and blood work, doctor also confirmed that my estrogen tends to dip a little low after ovulation so that is where we want to supplement a little more in our real cycle. Good to know! Also, we were excited to decide we would lock into a natural FET cycle and we were doing this!!! Of course we also tried naturally that month to get pregnant and of course it didn’t happen. So we were on our way to our Natural FET cycle with my next period.

Natural Cycle FET

I started my cycle on the 3rd day of my period and came in for a baseline check. The did an ultrasound to make sure I didn’t have any cysts on my ovaries and did blood work to check my hormone levels. The plan was to do at home ovulation kits and wait for high and peak results. The kits I use first tell you when your levels are HIGH and then tell you when it’s PEAK which is right before ovulation. So it was about 2 weeks until I went in again just for a check. Things were actually looking farther along than last cycle so we did more blood work and she suspected I would be getting close so I would come back in 2 days. In 2 days, my body was READY! Those eggs were growing perfectly and when we checked my hormones I was ready to go!! IT WAS INSANITY. I was expecting to have a much longer cycle again but this was flying by holy crap. I waited for blood work to confirm but that night I did my trigger shot! The trigger shot would confirm my exact embryo transfer timing. My lining was the best it’s ever looked! It looked “lush and juicy” in the words of my doctor and she was so excited about how great it looked that she printed me out a photo. I had that good trilaminar appearance to it as well which is all very positive. Things were looking amazing for my natural cycle and I was excited the doctor was as hyped as I was about it. I knew that if things didn’t look great, we could always cancel and try again but we were doing this!!

One week before I did my trigger injection which would trigger ovulation and set the wheels into motion for my embryo transfer. I started my progesterone 5 days before transfer and my other meds 3 days before. Progesterone this time was 1 injection and 1 suppository at night. I literally forgot how horrible those suppositories are. Basically it’s a compounded version of progesterone that looks like an oversized pill that you shove up your lady parts at night. But the aftermath is that is oozes out kind of slowly over time. Sorry TMI but damn they are GROSS. They just really end up making me feel very uncomfortable and I much prefer the injections which I know sounds INSANE. I started WAY less other hormones 3 days before. 2 estrogen patches and then my normal protocol of antibiotics, claritin, pepcid, baby aspirin, and medrol. After the medrol was finished I would start my prednisone. So all the meds were mostly the same as my medicated cycles in the past but just a lot less of them since we were working with my own body’s goods.

We did one last appointment on Friday before my Monday transfer to make sure all my hormones were looking good and that lining was also looking good. I think my nerves were running high. The appointment went great and everything looked ready. Hormones and lining looked good. I got to the checkout desk and was scheduling my pregnancy blood drawl test and 2 of my nurses came over to wish me luck at my transfer. I lost it. I feel awful to have been crying at the desk as I am sure anyone in the waiting room could hear me. But wow. The gravity of everything was hitting me. I desperately needed this to work. It was our last precious embryo and I was a hot mess of emotion. I thought I had it all together, I was feeling so good and positive, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t FEELING. Just such a vulnerable moment. Losing your shit. In public. But damn, infertility is hard as fuck. It’s really fucking hard. And going to battle and being knocked down every time takes its toll. I left the office tissues in hand. When I got to my car, I decided to change the script. Yes we had 1 more chance but that 1 chance is a blessing.

EMBRYO TRANSFER DAY

Of all my transfers, this one was one for the books. My smile was bigger waking up. I was more hopeful. I laid out my rainbow shirt, my cozy warrior socks, and I sat excited to start my day and move a step closer to expanding our family. I blow dried my hair, which in Covid times, is a big deal. I wanted to feel good. Look good. Be the light I needed this day. 

Blake, Otis and I packed up to leave. Because of Covid-19, he was not allowed in for my transfer but he would drop me off and be there waiting. As I was getting in the car, I noticed 3 morning doves walking through our garden. It was the sign I needed that morning. Third time’s the charm. I couldn’t knock the smile off my face after that. Despite the fact that destructive fires were raging through my part of Southern California, my sister was evacuated from her home and it smelled horribly of smoke even outside of our own home, I was positive. Nothing was going to ruin this day for me.

When I got to the clinic, it was business as usual. Take my valium and I filled out all my forms etc and before I knew it I was back in the room getting ready. I always play music on my phone and this time I put on my Summer Salt playlist for some good vibes. The embryologist came in, shared good news about our thawed 4AB embryo and confirmed it was our last normal embryo. My doctor came in shortly after. A speculum, a catheter and a few quick minutes later and the embryo was in! Watching it on the screen happen via ultrasound is truly a sureal experience. And just like that, we did it. I had my lucky socks on keeping me cozy and I also brought a few ribbons with me from a gift as a good luck charm. Channeling hope and love through every moment. I had asked Blake if he could give me an affirmation each day after my transfer to keep my spirits high and keep my hopeful heart in the right direction. I didn’t know he was going to give me something on the day of my transfer but before I had walked in, he gave me my first affirmation from him and Otis. I got to open it as I sat alone waiting for the doctors and nurses to come in. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. “The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that is coming”