How Are You Feeling?

The question I get asked the most (at 35 weeks pregnant) is “how are you feeling?” I always say “great” because I am now enjoying my pregnancy. Yes, I am not “great” but I am feeling about 1000X better than I was feeling in my first and second trimester. In my third trimester, I have been dealing with some health issues but they don’t even come close to what I was dealing with before. 

In all honesty, I don’t want to give birth just yet. I want to hold on to these moments when I am actually really enjoying pregnancy. The little one is kicking me and it feels uncomfortable but it also feels incredible. 

Today I thought I’d give you a health update and also tell you about some issues that you, a friend, or a family member may go through in the third trimester.

  1. Gestational Diabetes

At week 33, my sugar levels after dinner were in the 7’s and 8’s. As soon as I emailed my diabetes educator/nurse practitioner, she had me come in to take an insulin class. Within one hour of sending my email, she had me in an insulin class, had filled a prescription for me for insulin, and made sure she saw me face-to-face to check in on me. Shout out to Christine Opsteen at Mount Sinai who is amazing!

When I received the call from Christine I started to cry because I didn’t want to go on insulin. I had been eating so well and had been trying to get as much physical activity as possible. Once again, she reminded me that I was not a failure and that it was just because of my placenta. 

I am only using four units of insulin at dinner and I am not longer terrified at dinner time about my sugar levels. In fact, on Wednesday I graduated from the Diabetes Clinic. 

Another workshop on Diabetes

I explained that I was super sad to leave and they reminded me that leaving meant that I was healthy. I now have a document in my hospital bag that indicates how much insulin I will need during labour. I have also had a couple of sugar lows (where my levels go below 4 and I start to feel really “off.”) In those times I get to eat 15 skittles and then I feel a lot better. 

Graduation Day at the Diabetes Clinic

Three months after I give birth I get to take the glucose test again. That drink is the death of me! I will also be followed for one year with a nutritionist to make sure that I don’t develop Type 2 Diabetes.

People have commented that I have “never looked better” which is crazy to me because I am still not feeling anywhere like my old self. That being said, I feel so much more in control of my diet and I don’t have the sugar highs or sugar lows that I once had which makes me feel a lot better throughout the day.

Somehow getting gestational diabetes has been a gift. I’ve learned a lot about healthy eating and have seen what it is like to have diabetes. My hope is that I take this information forward and continue to look after my health as much as I have been doing. 

It is so strange to me that I didn’t really care about my health before I got pregnant. It’s almost as if I didn’t feel that I “deserved” to be healthy and to put myself first. It took a little baby inside of me whom I wanted to protect, to make me realize how being healthy should be a top priority,

My insulin that I will take right up until labour
  1. Weight/Size of Baby

I always feel weird discussing my weight because the last thing I want to do is to trigger anyone. If weight triggers you, please skip this section.

At 35 weeks, I have gained 7 lbs during this pregnancy. I think it is because I couldn’t keep food down for 7 months and because I have really had to watch what I eat at every meal.

Somehow I have never eaten more in my life (3 meals a day and 3 snacks a day)  and have somehow lost weight. Sometimes I eat something healthy like a salad for lunch and then my sugar levels go too low. It has really been interesting that I need to eat carbs (1-2 per snack, 2-3 per meal). 1 carb = 15 g of carbs on a nutrition label.

I plan to continue this lifestyle after my pregnancy. I’ve also heard that toward the end of pregnancy, you (and the baby) gain about a pound a week.

My baby boy is currently in the 45th percentile for weight and weighs 5 lbs. I am having another ultrasound on Wednesday so we’ll see if this number has changed. Right now, I am being induced on Feb 16th at 39.5 weeks because of my gestational diabetes. They will be doing ultrasounds almost weekly from now on to make sure that he is staying a good size. If not, I will be induced even earlier.

  1. Butt Issues

This is so embarrassing but I promised to be open with you so here I go. My internal hemorrhoids are back. How uncomfortable are these? They are pretty uncomfortable but nothing is worse than puking 5-8 times a day.

My family doctor has put me back on another medication and has reminded me that they won’t disappear and that the meds are just to manage them. 

I also had to confess that most of my acne (yes I am 13 going on 39) is on my butt. She couldn’t believe how bad it is (now bruising and welts) because I was too afraid to discuss what was happening.

What I’ve learned is that you just need to be open to doctors and see the doctor as soon as you have anything that is “off” with your butt.

  1. Nausea

For the most part, my nausea is gone! I’d say that at least three times a week in the morning I feel like getting sick but it passes.

I am still on two Diclectin a day which is really helping.

Yes, some smells get to me. I’ve had to stop wearing any type of perfume, scented deodorant, etc. I can’t wait to have my sense of smell go back to normal.

  1. Anxiety

This was a major issue while I was trying to conceive and within the first two trimesters of my pregnancy. I went from being on no medication to being on 20g of Cipralex every day (the most I have ever been on).

At every appointment I have been at, medical professions have asked me about my mental health. It feels amazing that people that work in the medical profession are so concerned about mental health and that it seems almost more important than physical health.

My anxiety has now turned to labour as I am preparing to go into a stage of having no control. People have assured me that the body knows what to do so I am going with that. 

I am also trying to be calm about not knowing when I will go into labour which is scary. I love knowing dates and being prepared so this is another lesson in just going with the flow.

  1. Exhaustion

I feel like I am 500 lbs.

To walk a block down the street, I am out of breath and have to take numerous breaks if I have to walk anywhere.

Going to an appointment (they are usually about four hours in length) drain me of all energy that I have. 

I’m still sleeping about 12 hours a night and still have the odd nap here or there. I feel like I’m asleep for most of my life.

Everyone keeps saying to” enjoy my sleep while I can” and trust me, I am. 

My main worry (after delivering a healthy baby) is around lack of sleep. Have heard that the baby only sleeps 1-2 hours at first so this is going to be a huge transition. Every time I bring up being nervous about labour, people say “you don’t need to worry about labour. The real worry is the first three months after giving birth.” Great! Just what I need to hear,

  1. Sciatica

After seeing my chiropractor on a weekly basis, this hasn’t been bothering me at all. I used to get massive pain that almost felt like a lightning bolt up my leg to my butt. If I go for long walks, I need to take breaks so that my sciatica doesn’t continue. Seeing a chiropractor is a MUST if you or anyone you know is experiencing Sciatica.

  1. Overall Attitude

I’ve tried to maintain a positive attitude throughout my entire pregnancy and I think I’ve been able to do it! I’ve been tested in countless ways during this pregnancy but I truly think that we all turn into a Mama Bear while pregnant and we can handle a lot more than we ever thought we could.

I can’t imagine going through all of this if I hadn’t wanted a baby. Somehow knowing that a baby is coming at the end of this, makes this whole process worthwhile. It is so cliche but so true.

Right now, I am truly the happiest I have been. There has been so much support around me and I feel blessed that so many people already love my son.

Thank you to everyone for their support and thanks for checking in on me. So far, everything seems great. Now it is just waiting time. 

Have heard that there comes a point where pregnancy becomes uncomfortable and that you just want the baby out. That may be the next stage but for now, I am savouring all of this amazing time being pregnant with my little one.

When is the “Right” Time to Have a Baby?

On my twenty-fifth birthday, I woke up and started to cry. By 25, I was supposed to be married or at least engaged like many of my friends from my small town. Sure I had a boyfriend at the time but I didn’t know if he was going to be the “one.” I had put so much pressure on myself to follow a specific timeline in order to have kids.

The whole day made me sad and even though my boyfriend, friends, and family made me feel really special, I just couldn’t get over the fact that I hadn’t achieved true “success.”

This week I watched an episode of “The Hills: New Beginnings” (yes it is a ridiculous reality show but stay with me for a second). One of the main characters (Kaitlyn) was with her husband at the time (Brody) and they were seeing a fertility doctor. As an avid watcher of reality programs (it is my escape), I’ve noticed that this is becoming a regular plotline in each series. The woman (or couple) goes to the doctor to find out about their chances of getting pregnant.

From there, I decided to record the clip and pose a question to my Instagram community about whether or not people found fertility testing anxiety-ridden or if they found it helpful in knowing all of the facts. 

When I posed the question on Instagram, I couldn’t get over the number of responses I received. In fact, I had no idea what this blog entry was going to be about but thanks to the number of people that reached out, I knew this topic was something that should be discussed.

So when is the right age to have a baby? Should you know whether or not you have any fertility issues before thinking about having kids?

Some of the messages made me really sad as they reminded me so much of my 25-year-old self trying to hit those milestones and have a baby. Women were asking me for guidance and all I wanted to say was “don’t be like me. You have time.” Many women asked questions about freezing eggs as well as the cost of fertility testing in Canada. 

From what I understand the cost of freezing your eggs is a minimum of $16,000.  As for testing for fertility, a kind woman reached out about her sister’s struggle.  Her sister wanted to find out about her fertility and they would not test her in Ontario. She was even willing to pay fees and they still wouldn’t test her.

So what does it take for a woman or man to be tested for fertility issues?

From what I understand, the testing is free to men/women who are at a fertility clinic. In order to be a patient at a fertility clinic, you have to have either tried for one year to have a baby (have also heard it is 6 months if the couple is older in age) or if you are a single woman wanting to do IUI (sperm inside the uterus) or IVF (egg combined with sperm).  I guess the costs associated with IUI and IVF are so high that they like to determine that your body can “medically” get pregnant before the procedure(s).

The final results from my poll on Instagram were that 62% found fertility testing too stressful while 38% found that knowing about their fertility reduced stress.

One woman reached out to me and explained that without early fertility testing she would not have known she had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome – not producing enough eggs). Knowing this information helped her decide to start trying to conceive at a younger age than she had planned.

I also have a close friend who loves statistics. In fact, during her entire pregnancy, she would list off the statistics of things not going to plan. She said that this information helped her because it allowed her to be prepared for the worst. She said that all of this knowledge gave her power. 

Some women wrote to me about waiting to have children and never getting testing for fertility. Instead, they decided to avoid being pressured by fertility stats and tried to get pregnant when they felt “ready.”

“I had my first at 39 and now have a crazy three-year-old toddler. 40 is not 25 but you really enjoy the calm that comes with being a mature Mom. I hardly stress about anything, I have my career, my house, my business. I don’t project anything on her. I just love her and want her to be herself and to be happy.”

Overall, I found these conversations over Instagram so interesting. Each woman had a reason for wanting to know/not wanting to know her results when it came to fertility.

As much as we wish we could have control over everything related to fertility, sometimes I think we have no control at all. If it makes a woman/man feel better about finding out their status when it comes to fertility – so be it. Information can help in making important decisions. 

However for me, and the other 62% of voters on my random poll, fertility can seem like a game of chance. Even with all of the medical tests and results, things don’t always make sense. I have friends who tried to get pregnant in their 20’s and are still trying, I have friends that had sex once in their 40’s and found themselves pregnant. I even have friends who were told they could never have children and they have the most wonderful kids.

Now, if I could speak to that 25-year-old Sarah, I would acknowledge her fear with regards to her timeline. I would have told her that a birthday is never about reaching timelines or a day to evaluate how much one has not “achieved in life.” Instead, I would have just reached out a crystal ball and showed that naive and dependent Sarah, that things in life would turn out even better than she could have ever imagined.

Heartbeat?

K and C by my side waiting for the doc

“Sarah?” asked the nurse.

“Yes?” I asked standing up walking towards her.

It was 12:57 p.m and my appointment was for 1:00 p.m. I had driven three hours back to Toronto from the family cottage for my appointment with my OB. The entire time I was away with my family my mind was occupied with the fact that my baby had a 5% chance within the first week (after my procedure) of not making it through the week.

Although the number seems low, stats hadn’t seemed to be on my side during my pregnancy since I only had a 15-20% chance of twins and yet I found myself looking at an ultrasound showing two babies at my eight week ultrasound.

About a week before my appointment I reached out to some girlfriends and asked if someone could possibly come with me to my appointment. My Mom wanted to come to the appointment but I felt really bad making her drive six hours with me during the day for the appointment.

This was one of my most crucial appointments and I knew I wanted to my Mom to stay at the cottage but knew I should probably have someone with me.

“So how have you been feeling?” asked the nurse.

“In all honesty I am not feeling well at all” I confessed. “I can’t keep any food down and I have no energy. Every day I need at least one nap for 1-2 hours and I am getting at least 10 hours of sleep per night. I am taking two diclectin but I am just so tired.”

“Why are you only taking two diclectin?” she asked.

“I keep weighing out the pros and cons of either sleeping away the entire day or not keeping any food down.”

“It is way more important for you to sleep during the day than throw up during the day” she said.

“But I am going back to start teaching in two weeks.  I can’t be too tired to begin the school year” I said.

“You may need a doctor’s note” she said.

Then she took my blood pressure.

“Have you had high blood pressure during your pregnancy?” she asked. “It is high today.”

“No” I confessed.

What she didn’t know was that I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. I just needed to know that my baby was okay. I just needed to hear the heartbeat.

My two friends that agreed to meet me at my appointment weren’t with me yet because I told them to come and meet me at 1:30 p.m. I had waited 1-5.5 hours to see an OB so I didn’t want them to be there all day.

I felt terrible. They were missing this. I also felt as though I needed to be alone for this. I needed to be able to totally shut down if there was no heartbeat.

“Now I want to hear the heartbeat” she said.

I went on the examining table and closed my eyes.

“I’ll be using the Doppler” she said. “I want to let you know that your baby is really small right now and it may take me a bit to hear the heartbeat. Please don’t be concerned.”

“Of course” I said.

As she ran the device over my stomach I wanted to get sick. Everything was coming down to this moment and I was absolutely petrified. How was I supposed to stay calm?

“I can hear the heartbeat” I said with a smile.

“It’s not actually the heartbeat of the baby” she said.  “It is your heartbeat.”

My heart was beating so quickly that she just kept picking it up on the machine.

“Deep breaths” I told myself.

The whole experience felt like at least 15 minutes but I am sure it was more like thirty seconds until I heard the heartbeat.

“That is the heartbeat of your baby” she said with a smile.

I burst into ugly tears and the tears wouldn’t stop. The baby’s heartbeat was the best sound in the world.

“I am so sorry” I said. “I am such a loser.  It’s just that I have been so worried about everything since my procedure and it has been so hard.”

I stopped myself realizing that I was making my confession to a nurse not a therapist.

“I am so so sorry” she said handing me a Kleenex.  “I am so sorry it took me so long” she said.

“It wasn’t you” I admitted. “You did an amazing job. It was just my nerves.”

“Are you able to sit up because I think we can move you into a room to see Dr. Snelgrove now ” she asked.

“Oh my gosh yes” I said drying up my tears. She left the room and I looked at my face in the mirror. My eyes were bright red and my face was blotchy.

I looked down at my phone.

“I am here” my friend C texted.

“There is a heartbeat!” I texted and then started sobbing again.

I poked my head out of the room to try to find C amongst all of the patients waiting to see my doctor and my friend C was running towards me looking absolutely frazzled.

“You told me 1:30!” she said.

“I am sorry” I said noticing that it was only 1:10 p.m.

We hugged and I sobbed again.

Moments later another frazzled person came running down the hall and it was my friend K who had somehow found the admin assistant (down a random hallway) who helped K to find my room.

“I am so sorry” I said. “I had no idea my appointment would be so quick. I am so sorry you weren’t here for the heartbeat.”

“Group hug?” my friend asked.

We all hugged in the small hospital room and moments later Dr. Snelgrove entered. He brought a doctor in training with him who resembled Gigi Hadid.

“It is a party in here” I laughed as there were now five of us in a super small room all crowded together.

Dr. Snelgrove explained that the heartbeat of the baby was great and he asked me to start taking four diclectin a day. He also told me that I could take gravol as well on days where I found it extremely hard.

“4 diclectin + gravol means that I will sleep forever” I admitted. “What about work?” I asked.

“Let’s try this out and if you need a note, you need a note.”

By 1:37 p.m. I had met with the doc, heard the heartbeat, got my blood pressure checked twice (the second time I was totally fine), and got a new prescription for 270 diclectin. I felt terrible that I had made my friends take off work and come all the way to my appointment.

We sat on a bench outside the Ontario Power Generation Building (where my doctor is located) and spent about an hour and a half catching up.

Amazing news at the appointment!

“I love you ladies so much” I said to my friends. “Today could have been a really difficult day and you both showed up and were totally there for me.”

I could start to feel the tears coming to my eyes.

What started off as an extremely anxious/difficult day turned into a day of complete joy and excitement.

Now it was time to celebrate. Now I could tell everyone (aka the people not following my blog).

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I bought a beautiful shirt with the word “Mama” on it. It sat in my closet and there were a lot of times where I thought I’d never be able to wear it. Sometimes I felt as though the shirt was staring back at me and mocking me. Something inside me told me that I’d one day be able to wear it.

After my appointment I felt as though it was really time to celebrate being a Mama and I was finally ready to let everyone know (especially the people not following my blog) that I finally had achieved the goal I had always wanted in life – to be a Mama.

Thank you for all of your kindness and well wishes during such a difficult time. Nothing brings me greater joy than being able to share such positive news.

Photo by Nina Polidoro Photography
Shirt by AshCo.XO

What Is Really Going On?

There have been so many times where I’ve had questions during the process of being a single mom by choice and I’ve reached out to friends, family, and the Instagram community.  Everyone has been there for me and I decided this week I’d give back.

Below are a series of questions that people messaged me on Facebook or Instagram this week.  In fact, I received so many questions (30 thus far) that this is going to be Part One of questions and next week I will answer Part Two. Some questions deal with topics related to becoming a single mother by choice. Other questions are just things that people are wondering about regarding my pregnancy or pregnancy in general.  Please know that I am such a huge fan of learning and of being open. Feel free to ask me anything and if you would like your question featured on the blog next week, just send me an email.

Now for the fun part….

  • You said you love your donor. Is it someone you personally know? Just curious.

It is not someone I personally know yet somehow I feel like I know him. I felt that using sperm from a friend might really complicate everything and was worried that the donor might change his mind once the baby was born and want to become part of the child’s life. Yes there are court documents to ensure that you are the sole parent but my social worker suggested that these documents don’t always hold up in court.

As a result, I decided to find a donor from a sperm bank. It was so hard choosing a donor and I even had a little breakdown while finding one (am I really that horrible that nobody wants to have kids with me?) After my little pity party (which I think everyone is allowed), I was very limited in my selection. I always thought I’d get a book and could select a donor from the book. Instead, I got a few matches online that I got to select from. After seeing a baby picture of the donor, reading the essay he wrote, hearing him in an interview, reading his genetic health history of his entire family, and seeing a current day silhouette of him, I knew he was the one. 

When I saw his baby picture I actually cried (only donor I cried about) because he looked so much like my sisters and I when we were kids. His voice and calm demeanor just drew me to him but it was hard to get him as a donor. In fact, I only used him as my donor on the second IUI (sperm inside the uterus) because I was on a waiting list and the timing didn’t work out the first time.

  • How and when did you commit to being a single mom by choice?

There was not a specific moment where this happened.  There were a bunch of key events that made me realize that this was something that I wanted to do.  Some of these events include: my grandma saying she was sad I was never going to have kids, a boyfriend who (during our relationship) told me he didn’t want kids, a motherly instinct that I have always had since I was a little girl, two friends that decided to become Choice Moms that inspired me to begin the process, my 37th birthday and realizing that time was not on my side anymore, spending time with kids and realizing how much joy they brought me and how my life would not seem fulfilled without children in some way.

I always wanted children and I’d say that if I had to pick an age where I started to think about it, it would maybe have been at the age of 34 (and it took me three years to talk about it with my doc).

  • Baby names?  Have you picked them?

I am terrified of coming up with a name this early in the process. I am so afraid of having a miscarriage because it is so common.  After 20 weeks, I feel as though I will really think about this.

In the meantime, I will tell you some names I feel a connection to right now.  As a child, I loved to write stories and every protagonist in my stories was named Abigail Jenkins. Have always loved the named Abigail but who knows.

As for a boy, I keep being drawn to the name Finn. The only issue is that it is a lot like my sister’s married last name so it may not work in the long run.

  • What will you tell your child?

After seeing both a social worker (because it is mandatory as a patient of Mount Sinai) and my counsellor (because I love keeping my mental health in check), I have made a decision to be open and honest as much as possible.

I will be creating a book for my little one with all of the info from his/her Dad. It will contain pictures at the fertility clinic and will include his/her dad’s essay, etc. I’ll follow what my counsellor suggests (when looking at appropriate age/language to use). I also plan to invest in many books about kids with single parents/kids with donors.

There is also a sibling registry where my child will be able to decide if he/she wants to get the names of his/her siblings and meet them. My child will also be given information about his/her Dad at the age of 18 and the Dad has agreed to have contact with him/her.

  • Did your doctor tell you to lose weight before you were pregnant?

According to the BMI, I am considered “obese.”  Through tears I asked my fertility doctor if I should try to lose a bunch of weight before getting pregnant. I asked if I should put everything on hold.

She informed me that studied show that when a patient puts a hold on the process and tries to lose weight, this almost never happens.  She indicated that we were against timing already (with my age being 37 at the time) so she determined that we needed to start right away.

I did try and lose weight but I have such a complicated relationship with food.  When I start restricting food I binge. I also eat when I am stressed, and have been stressed and challenged more through this process than with anything in my life.

I am also reminded that women all over the world with a lot of different sizes get pregnant every day. They even have healthy pregnancies.  I have no idea if weight will become a major issue during my pregnancy but I will keep you posted.

  • How do you handle the judgement? Has everyone been kind to you online and in real life?

I would say that I am VERY surprised that most people (about 99%) are positive.  I worried about hater/ people responding negatively to my blog.

There have been a couple times where I have been hurt by the things that people have said but I think over time I am building a tougher skin (which is crazy to say because anyone who knows me knows that I am an overly sensitive person).

When I started the process, I was totally embarrassed at the doctor’s when the receptionist told me that she couldn’t fax my form to the fertility office because I didn’t have a partner. After indicating infront of everyone in the waiting room that I was using a donor, she finally faxed the form.

About a month later when I called Mount Sinai to see what the hold-up was in becoming their patient, they explained that the didn’t process my form because under “partner info” it read “N/A.” Once again, I had to inform them that I was doing it on my own.

I also had a “friend” on my Facebook write something really negative about how I shouldn’t be writing any of this because my child wouldn’t want any of this to be published.  For the first couple hours, I didn’t even do anything. In fact, I didn’t even know she had posted that. My other friends started protecting me and came to my defense. They started writing things under her post and I realized that I really did have an army protecting me.

Eventually I gave her about six different reasons as to why I was sharing this info and reminded her that I thought long and hard about publishing this type of info. My child will know his/her story and I can remove everything if he/she wants me to. I just feel like this is such an important topic and one that should not be ignored. If I could help someone else out, I would try my best.

Have also had people that won’t talk to me about it or say that they aren’t interested in any of this which is TOTALLY fine.

  • Will you stay in Toronto? It is crazy expensive there. What is your plan?

Plans make me very nervous so I *think* I have a plan for the first year. As of right now, the first year of the baby’s life will be spent in Toronto.

After that, I will most likely be moving.  Everything really depends on my job and if I were to go somewhere new, I would lose all of my seniority as a teacher. It sounds a little crazy to leave a full teaching contract position of 15 years to start somewhere new.

That being said, I plan to give my child the best life he/she can have. If it means taking chances and moving to somewhere much more affordable, it is not out of the question.

  • How did you tell your parents?

This seems like so long ago! I feel like I started by making little jokes about it to see the reaction on their face.  That lasted for a couple of months. From there, I called my Mom up and explained that I was seriously thinking about it. I knew she was going on vacation and I wanted her to tell my Dad. I figured they could talk about it while they were away.

When they came back from their vacation my Mom told me (infront of the entire family) that she asked my Dad about it. She announced that Dad had said that “if your baby makes you as happy as the three of my girls have made me, it is worth it.”

It was very sweet and reminded me that you never know how people will take the news. I was so worried about what he would think of me and I didn’t need to worry at all.

  • No one is supporting me. What do I do?

I am so sorry that this is happening to you and know that it is totally normal. I’ve been VERY lucky to have this much support. I would suggest you invest in a good counsellor. A counsellor will be your biggest supporter and fan. When you start to doubt yourself, he/she will be there to help you.

A counsellor will work on all of your fears with you. He/she will help you process the feelings of others as well as any feelings you have yourself.  I have also heard of many people who didn’t support the single mother until she had the baby. Once the baby was born, she received a lot of support from people who were against the whole process.

  • How did you tell people you were pregnant?

Well everyone knew when I would find out if I was pregnant (I posted the date of my second IUI). They knew it would be a two week wait.

I told my family over Facebook messenger and recorded their responses. You may remember that a little while back, my Mac died and I haven’t been able to afford a new laptop. As a result, I was storing all pictures and videos on my phone but before long my iPhone storage had reached the limit. I emailed the videos to myself and just assumed they would always stay in iCloud. It turns out that videos are only stored for 30 days. I have now lost all of the videos I made with reactions I received when telling my closest fam and friends about my pregnancy.

I am sure there will be some sort of video made before the baby is born but I might just interview fam and friends about the arrival of the baby and have my bro in law (master of technology) put something together.

  • How are you feeling?

I am not feeling well at all. Morning sickness/all day sickness has been A LOT to handle. I am now in week 11 and can barely keep food down. I have one random day out of about seven where I feel okay and able to do something.

My days have been spent taking diclectin (now up to three a day), sipping ginger ale, avoiding most foods, having to cancel plans with friends/family, and watching a lot of Netflix.

It is totally worth it but in the meantime, people have given me A LOT of tips to help with the morning sickness. These include things such as taking meds at night, taking ginger gravol, eating ginger candies, eating jolly ranchers, carrying bags with me, acupuncture, eating a variety of small meals every day, talking to my OB, etc.

I also need to keep saying “no” to things and to not feel guilty about it. Right now, I feel like that flaky friend that always bails. I keep having to remind myself that I am doing the right thing for me and my little one.

  • Have you received your results for the Harmony test?

Yes! My baby has tested negative for Down’s and for a couple other genetic abnormalities. I found out on Friday.

I also want everyone to know that I have two friends who have children with Down’s and they inspire me every day. Their kids are the absolute best and bring them so much joy.

I just wanted the information to have the testing done. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but I wanted to know.

Some of you also know that you can find out the gender by doing this test. Personally, I don’t want to know the gender until later. As someone who is constantly worried about pregnancy loss, I am just not ready to know yet.

Thanks for sending in your questions and please know that next week I’ll be answering more. If you sent me a question that hasn’t been answered yet, please know that I’ll answer it next week.

Wishing everyone an amazing and healthy week ahead!

My First Appointment with my O.B.

Trying to look really casual but inside I am freaking out.

“What anything from Starbucks?” I texted my sister J.

“Would love an Americano so much. Thank you.” she wrote.

“The directions that I got to the OB’s office are crazy so just meet me on the third floor and we can find the office together” I texted.

It was Wednesday and J had agreed to meet me for my first appointment with my OB at Mount Sinai.

I was super nervous.  Why couldn’t I just stay with Dr. Jones at the Fertility Clinic? She was the nicest doctor ever.  Instead, I was to meet a new doctor named Dr. Snelgrove and was about to explore a new building – the Ontario Power Generation building.

“Good morning” said Julia as she came out of the elevators to meet me.

“I am so nervous” I confessed.

What was going to happen at this appointment? The nurse on the phone suggested it would be a “long” appointment but how long was “long”?

After making twists and turns down the hall, we finally found the admin assistant in the hall.

“My name is Sarah and this is my first appointment” I said.

Celine was so lovely and explained that I could just take a seat.

Both J and I commented on how everyone we saw around us was pregnant and going to the washroom. Most pregnant women were going at a leisurely pace but I could tell that some were going to throw up.  I felt like I was really among my people.

“Sarah?” asked a really cute nurse.  She had the exact same style as my sister J. She was wearing a white shirt and a really pretty pastel pink flowy skirt. 

“You have the exact same shoes as my sister” I said to her looking at how both she and Julia had on the same shoes.

“I also own the same skirt” Julia laughed.

The nurse’s name was Daniella and she was so lovely.

She talked about how Dr. Snelgrove was super nice and she just asked a lot of questions about my health. She talked to me about how many pregnant women crave carbs but how one should avoid eating too many carbs.

“But please note that now is not the time to go on any type of weight loss diet “she said.

That made me happy.

J and I laughed with her as we discussed many issues involving pregnancy and later even had a debate on whether Starbucks iced coffee really was worth the price.

About ten minutes later Daniella gave me an entire booklet of info and said “welcome to the low risk pregnancy program.”

“Low risk?” I asked. “I thought I’d be high risk because of my age and I think I have high blood pressure.”

“Your blood pressure is great” she said.

This made a lot of anxiety disappear.

From there, J and I waited for about an hour. We laughed through the entire hour killing time making fun of the art on the walls or various things that we were seeing.

The perfect artwork for the low risk floor.

At one moment we saw a couple who were obviously going through a lot and the man was cradling his partner’s head. They both looked as though they were crying.

“Stop staring” I said to J.

“What do you want me to do?” she asked. “I am an empath.”

J also saw someone she knew and pretended not to see her. In fact, J ran into people she wasn’t “supposed” to see because various friends were going through fertility issues/treatments and wanted to keep everything private. J respected their space and would only go up to people she knew if they seemed as though they wanted to chat.

“This is the reality” said J. “Many people are going through fertility issues around this age.”

“Sarah?” asked another nurse.  “We are ready to see you.”

“Want me to come in with you?” asked J.

“Of course” I said.

J sat in the chair and I sat on the examination table.

“What is that sound?” asked Julia. “It sounds like we are in a birth canal.”

J and I still haven’t figured out where the sound was coming from. It was either a weird sound coming from the vent or the sound of someone having an ultrasound done near us that sounded like the heartbeat was on a megaphone.

“Sarah?” asked Dr. Snelgrove.

“This is my sister J” I said.

“I can see the family resemblance.”

“You can?” I asked. “I personally don’t think we look anything alike.”

I can’t possibly go into all of the things that Dr. Snelgrove said because a) it went over my head b) I didn’t write anything down c) this would be 5,000 words longer.

Some things I did note were the following:

  1. I haven’t gained any weight.
  2. My OB only works at the clinic on Wednesday’s so all appointments will be scheduled on a Wednesday.
  3. You don’t get to pick your appointment time. You are just handed a card that goes over the times you must attend.
  4. Dr. Jones was Dr. Snelgrove’s Chief Resident while he was in training so I know I am in good hands.
  5. You should bring something to write everything down. There is so much information that comes at you very quickly. J and I could not possibly process everything that was said to us.
  6. Because of my age and the fact that I have used a donor, Dr. Snelgrove suggested that I have what is called a Harmony Test. It uses one vial of blood to screen for Down Syndrome and two other genetic disorders (Dynacare). Since I was ten weeks on the exact day I saw him, he ordered the test for me. It did cost $500.00 but he said that it is a very accurate test and that my results would be ready within a week.

After saying good-bye to my OB, J and I departed ways because she had to go to work and I needed to get some blood work.

After taking a number and waiting for about five minutes in the “lab” area, a woman called my number. I recognized her right away.

“You also work at Mount Sinai Fertility” I said. “You took my blood on several occasions.”

She smiled at me and said “well it is so nice to see you here.”

She was right – I had graduated from Mount Sinai Fertility to Mount Sinai Low Risk.

“I love your nails” I said as I recognized the fact that she always had her nails done in interesting colours.

“I need gold and glitter in my life” she said in her Russian accent.

She then started plugging info into the machine and it no longer felt like Mount Sinai Fertility. It took about ten minutes for her to process info, get the right coloured vials, and get the correct stickers printed for the vials of blood. At Mount Sinai Fertility, things took seconds. This was taking a long time.

The ten minutes were excruciating. It had been over a month since I had my blood drawn and I had forgotten how anxious I became when forced to sit down and “relax” while having blood taken. She was concentrating so much that my small talk conversation that usually allowed me to focus on something else was not allowed.

“Make a fist” she said.

Eight vials later I was finally done. Through the whole process she kept looking at the needle in my arm and then would look right into my eyes. It felt like she was looking into my soul.

I wondered if she knew how nervous/anxious I was or if she could feel me shaking. I also wondered if she thought I might pass out.

Three and a half hours after my appointment time, I finally left Mount Sinai. In my purse was a giant pamphlet of info I was going to read along with a prescription for baby aspirin to be taken starting August 9th (a precaution to help avoid genetic diseases for the baby).

Every time I passed a pregnant woman or saw a baby with his/her parent/guardian, I couldn’t help but smile. Yes the third floor was full of a lot of medical information, precautions, facts, stats, testing, etc., but it was also full of so many miracles. We were all in this together and I finally felt as though everything might be okay.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting: The Truth

Morning sickness pills and some ginger ale = my two faves.

“You are just like Princess Kate” my friend texted.

“We only have one thing in common – morning sickness” I texted back.

Then I started thinking about what else Princess Kate and I had in common and the list ended there.

This week has been quite interesting. I’m teaching online summer school so I am marking about 40 grade twelve assignments per day. You have to be on your A game as assignments are literally coming in at any time of the day.

Yet I have struggled with morning sickness.

So how do you balance work, friends, family, while having morning sickness every day? Who knows. If you could tell me, that would be great.

Also, who the hell called it “morning sickness” when it should really be called “all day sickness?”

For whatever reason my “morning sickness” hits at 12:30 p.m. It’s the weirdest thing and for the past couple of days I have checked the clock to see when it starts and every day the number 12:30 looks back at me.

For those of you incredible people who have yet to experience morning sickness let me tell you what it is like. Think of your worst hangover you have ever had. Sometimes you had the spins, sometimes you were just ready to throw up at any second, sometimes you craved certain foods while other times you had to force yourself to eat. All you wanted to do was to possibly throw up to feel better.

That is basically morning sickness. Now I must tell you that mine is not bad. My heart breaks for pregnant women constantly throwing up all day. I can’t imagine opening my eyes every morning to morning sickness.

I also remember not being pregnant and watching my friends go through morning sickness.

“They are so lucky” I thought. “At least they have a baby inside of them.”

That is so true but perspective really is everything. Yes, I am so grateful to feel this way because it means I am still pregnant but feeling hungover every day of the week can feel a bit much.

Weeks ago I was prescribed a medication from my fertility doctor, Dr. Jones. It was for Diclectin but she informed me that it would make me feel really drowsy.

“You can take up to four a day” she said. “That is a lot though so I don’t know if that will just make you way too tired. Just start with one and go from there.”

I didn’t want to take pills because a) I am stubborn and thought I could just be tough b) I was afraid of how tired I would be. I already found myself exhausted after the lamest things and was worried my marking would go to hell if I took medication.

On Thursday I went grocery shopping and my morning sickness came on. I started to curse myself because it was 11:30 a.m. and I was cutting it too close to my 12:30 morning sickness timeslot.

Despite the grocery store cranking the A.C., sweat started pouring down my face.

“I need to get out of here” I thought. My shopping was almost complete and I just needed to pay.

I stood in line and placed the top of my body over the bar on the cart. Somehow I felt that would help. Then I started taking deep breaths.

The man behind me looked puzzled.

“I just need this” I said to the clerk as I grabbed a bottle of ginger ale and chugged it like I once downed shots in University.

After paying my bill and getting out of there without throwing up (small victories), I decided it was time to fill my prescription.

The pharmacist warned me that I should just start out with one because so many people complain about being way too tired on them. Yes, yes, everyone was giving me the same warning.

On Friday, after getting nine hours of sleep the night before, I popped my first Diclectin.

Within two hours I could barely keep my eyes open and had to go for a two hour nap.

So now I wake up each morning and choose. Will today be a day of nausea and throwing up or will today be a day I spend sleeping? What a choice!

Do you remember Kourtney Kardashian when she was pregnant? She loved and embraced her pregnancy so much. She was so happy and felt as though she was “one” with her baby.

For me, pregnancy has been a bit of a gong show. It consists of days when I spot and go into hysterics thinking that I have miscarried my baby. It is also a time where I have to debate which is less likely to interfere with my day – sleep or vomiting.

That being said, pregnancy is also the best thing in the world. I legit strut down the street exposing that my stomach is becoming bigger. People have complimented and said that I am “beautiful” on the streets which has not happened in years. I am positive this is because I am no longer trying to hide my belly or my weight.

People also comment on the fact that I am “glowing” when in fact, my body is just drenched with sweat and I feel like I need to shower. It is so nice to receive compliments at a time when you think you may pass out from heat stroke.

I am also fully aware of my limits. Before becoming pregnant, I attended everything and my friends can back me up on this. I was always out and having fun. I’d often be completely exhausted though because I was doing far too much. Now, I have to slow down and have to make choices. I can’t attend everything anymore which makes me sad but I really appreciate the times that I do get to spend with friends.

I’ve also started rubbing my belly when I am anxious and have started talking to the baby. If anyone saw me, they would legit think I was crazy but I am enjoying this little bonding experience.

This week I also got my OB! His name is Dr. Snelgrove and he is at Mount Sinai. I have an appointment with him this week and was told that it will be “long.” Have no idea what it entails but my amazing sister J will be by my side.

So right now I would give my pregnancy about an 8/10. Most days are filled with joy but I do miss my wine on patios and I do miss feeling well during most days.

Still can’t believe this is happening though. Sometimes I just think “I am pregnant” and I am filled with so much joy sprinkled with a bit of fear.

Excited to see what a new week brings! How will I feel? Will the morning sickness end? Can I make it through a day without having a two hour nap? Will I leave my house and go out in the heat? Will my marking get done? Will I stop being a hermit? Will I just invest in shares of Canada Dry because I am drinking so much ginger ale? Time will tell. Sometimes you just have to laugh at all of this because it is so ridiculous.

So I may not look like Princess Kate, I may not be rich, I may not even be married to royalty (or married at all) but hats off to Kate because we do have a shared experience and morning sickness is no joke.

The Two Questions People Keep Asking

The beautiful flowers I received from “Mama Bear” and “Papa Bear” congratulating me on my pregnancy.

The past week may have been one of the best weeks of my life.  Getting to make happy phone calls and getting to post about such happy news felt incredible.

A lot of people cried.

Some screamed.

Some jumped up and down.

Some people said the most beautiful things.

A few people asked a really good question.

The first question that kept popping up was “are you sure you want to tell people right now?” 

It’s a great question and something that I debated for a long time. 

A lot of people wait for the three month mark before telling people they are pregnant. They want to keep things private until the risk of miscarriage drops.

In my situation, I really debated what to do because ideally I would wait the standard three months.  Then I wondered what people would think if I just ditched my blog and Instagram account for three months.  If I promised to be so open about trying to get pregnant, I felt I needed to be honest about the pregnancy as well.

So far, I have been feeling really great except for some cramps that I get about 1-3 times per day.  I’ve looked up “cramps” on trusty google and the article said that this is normal during the first couple months.  I did notice that the article went from “perfectly normal” to “ectopic pregnancy” so I am going to try to just read the first couple of paragraphs on articles on google for the next while.

The sweet pregnancy journal and book (that made me bawl my eyes out) was sent from my sister L and brother in law D.

The second most asked question of the week has to do with the IUI process and pregnancy.

A lot of people sent me direct messages on Instagram asking me the same question “do you have any tips for getting pregnant using IUI?”  The question usually followed with personal stories about how an individual or couple were trying to conceive and they wanted to know what I did “right” in order to get pregnant.

It made me feel really sad and then I recalled asking that same question to people with successful IUI’s (sperm inside the uterus) in the past.

Here’s the thing – there is no secret. I didn’t do anything “right.” If I knew how to give tips on having a successful IUI, I would give the tips to absolutely every person trying to conceive right now.  I don’t know why I was lucky this time.  If I knew how to get pregnant right away, I think I would have been pregnant during my marriage or pregnant during my first IUI.

The whole process is a complete gamble and it breaks my heart to think that people feel as though there is some secret out there or some steps that someone must take in order to ensure that they have a successful IUI.

Fertility is a difficult topic because you literally have no control.  Sometimes when I shared my news last week, I was very sensitive about how I shared the news with people that were trying to get pregnant.

It wasn’t too long ago that it felt like I was punched in the gut every time someone announced a wedding or a pregnancy.  Don’t get me wrong – I was so happy for them.  Yet these announcements are full of joy but also make you take a look inward to try and figure out your goals. Sometimes you just aren’t at the place in your life where you thought you’d be.  Sometimes you are still waiting for that marriage proposal or pregnancy announcement. Comparison really is the thief of joy.

Who knows what is to happen and the anxiety does not stop when you get engaged or married or even pregnant. Trust.

Yet for the past week and for the next couple of weeks, I am just going to keep staying positive and fully take in every single kind word or phrase said to me. 

Thank you for your well wishes and thank you so much for your questions.  Please know that I promise to stay as open as possible with all of you. Thanks for an amazing week and here’s to 39 more happy and healthy weeks ahead!

The Results Are In!

Wed June 12th 2019

I was standing in the line waiting to pay for my two pregnancy tests and the man behind me wanted to chat.  For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to chat.  I had tunnel vision and all I wanted to do was get home and take a pregnancy test.

“How does this watch work?” asked the man holding up a watch from the store. Who knew that Rexall Pharmacy sold watches? Not this girl.

“I have no idea” I said (totally lying).  Normally, nothing gives me greater joy than to help someone out but I was on a mission and I needed to know if I was in fact, pregnant.

Once home, I decided it was time.

Yes the nurse told me not to take an at home pregnancy test.  Yes I googled about how one should not take an at home pregnancy test after taking fertility meds as it usually results in a positive.  Yes I was having my blood test at 7 am the next morning but I didn’t care.  

I needed to know the results.

I also didn’t want to see the results on my own.  I have promised to share everything with you on this journey and thought it was fitting that you were with me in that moment as well.

RESULT TIME

After the test I called my sister J. I facetimed her with the positive pregnancy test beside my face.

“No way” she said.

“Way” I laughed. 

I then went on to explain that this was hopeful but didn’t mean I was necessarily pregnant.  I didn’t want to get too excited and wanted to keep all of my feelings in check.

But I wanted to celebrate.

I took the pregnancy test and decided to sleep beside it. 

I couldn’t put it under my pillow because I was afraid I’d break it.  My logic said that if I slept beside a positive test in the night it would be positive in the morning. If you haven’t realized it yet – the fertility process makes you lose your damn mind. Fully aware that I sound like a lunatic. 

Thursday June 13th

Just before I was about to leave for the fertility clinic at 6:30 a.m., I realized that I still needed to take the pregnancy test.

I took it but nothing showed up.  I didn’t really have to go pee so the stick wasn’t fully pink (turns pink when it is fully wet).  A little too much TMI?

I kept checking to make sure that my cycle hadn’t started and went off to the clinic with a smile on my face. 

Something told me I was pregnant.

After getting my blood taken, I stopped and got a decaf coffee. I was finally able to use the restroom and in Café Dineen, I took the pregnancy test.  After that, I put it in my purse.  I couldn’t wait to look at it until I got home, I checked it and it was positive.

Cafe Dineen – the perfect place for a pregnancy test.

Then I waited. And waited.  And waited some more.

By 4:00 p.m., I knew that the clinic was closed and all of the calls were made for the day.  How could the clinic not tell me whether or not I was pregnant?  This was a true test for a really anxious person.  I had the vision of telling my family on Thursday night and I couldn’t tell them, or could I?

After arriving home from work at 9:30 p.m., I decided it was time to call my parents.

“Congratulations” they said.  They were so happy and I recorded the whole thing.  My super kind and talented bro in law promised to make me a video of all of the reactions. My parents were so happy and also a little worried since I hadn’t heard from the clinic so they were afraid to celebrate too much.

Then I called my bro-in-law D and sister E.  They completely freaked out and I was so happy to record their faces.  E indicated that on this date two years ago, she told D that she was pregnant.  That made me cry (again for the 100th time). E said her little one was crying and I begged her to let me see my niece.  The camera revealed that my niece stood up in her crib for the first time.  Then my niece saw me on the phone and started to blow me kisses.  It was the sweetest moment and something I’ll never forget.

My other sister J was sending me a lot of messages and I spoke with her explaining that there was no news but that I was really feeling like I was pregnant.

That night the Toronto Raptors won and there were so many celebrations outside my apartment.  Everyone was cheering and fireworks were going off.  The game brought everyone in the city together and nothing made me happier than falling asleep to the sound of so many happy people.  It was a great night.

Friday June 14th

I woke up and got ready for work and saw that the clinic was calling at 7:00 a.m. (right when they first opened).

“Sarah….the test is positive” said the nurse.

“For real?” I screamed.

“For real” she laughed. She then explained that I needed to wait until Saturday at 10:30 a.m. to take my final test to make sure my levels were high enough.  She said that levels should be anything above 50 and that my levels were at 200 so everything looked “really good.”

On the way to work, Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” came on the radio.  It was part of a mash-up of songs on 92.5, and I started sobbing.  If I were to have a baby, it would be the “greatest love of all” and it was “happening to me.”  HOLY EMOTIONAL.

That’s when I decided to start telling people.  I wanted to tell my closest family and friends before they found out on my blog or Instagram so I decided it was okay to start telling people.

My co-worked filmed my sister J’s reaction and the reaction from my parents.  Hopefully one day I can share that video with you.

Every person I told was so happy.  Every person had believed in me so much. Every call gave me the greatest joy. I laughed and mostly cried when I got to speak to some of my favourite people in the world.  Life was so good. 

Saturday June 15th

I went to the clinic at 10:30 a.m. and every time I went to the washroom I kept checking to make sure that my cycle hadn’t started.  Truth be told, it just felt too good to be real.  Getting pregnant after your second IUI was something that I never thought would happen.

Fertility is completely a game of chance and I have so many friends who have had such difficult journeys in getting pregnant.  I have locked eyes and smiled at so many women in fertility clinics who go there every single day. I have watched as several of my friends have struggled through miscarriages.  I have heard so many stories and I didn’t expect to be lucky.  Yet here I am. Please know that I am fully aware of how lucky I am. I feel so blessed.

When I went to the clinic it was completed deserted except for one other woman wearing a “Mama Bird” t-shirt.  I loved it and realized that if I am a Mom, I am going to wear all the Mom t-shirts and have all the Mom mugs. 

“Sarah?” asked the nurse.

I went into the room to get my blood taken and wondered if it would be my last time in the clinic not knowing 100% whether or not I was pregnant. Then I got teary eyed.

When I flipped my arms over to expose my veins, the nurse said “wow….you are really bruised on both arms. You have had a lot of blood tests done.”

“It is so worth it” I beamed.

From there, I went to the LCBO and bought my sister J and her husband D some champagne.  Little did I know that they had champagne and the cutest sign for me at their place.

Not sure if I am laughing or crying here. HOLY EMOTIONAL.

When I got in their apartment they popped the champagne and J made me a sparkling non-alcoholic drink but put it in a champagne glass.

“Thank you so much for supporting me on my journey” I said as we toasted.

About thirty minutes later my phone rang.

“Sarah?” asked the nurse on the phone.

“Yes?” I said.

“You sound really worried” said the nurse.

“I am so worried” I admitted.

“Everything is great. We will see you in three weeks for your first ultrasound.”

I cried.

It felt amazing.

The world seemed right. 

I AM GOING TO BE A MOM.

My baby is due in February 2020!

Am I Pregnant?

Having dinner with my friend Sarah during the two week wait

I could be writing this blog post as a pregnant woman.  AHHHH! In one week I will know if my second IUI (sperm inside the uterus) worked. 

After my first IUI, I had a feeling in my gut that it didn’t work.  I really wondered how I could possibly get pregnant when I spent days before/during/after trying to avoid panic attacks. 

My thought patterns went something like this:

Positive Inner Voice: I have a pain in my stomach. I must google it.  I could be pregnant.

Negative Inner Voice: There is no way that you are pregnant or that you are ready to be pregnant.  How much money have you saved?  Do you really think you can do it on your own? If you are obese the chances of you getting pregnant reduce.  Why didn’t you lose some weight before trying to conceive?

Positive Inner Voice: I will take each day as it comes.  I feel like I am having signs of pregnancy. I will make sure I am active as possible during my pregnancy.

Negative: Those are not signs.  The chance of you getting pregnant is so small.  You are not emotionally or physically ready for this.

Every moment would be an internal battle and I couldn’t catch a break. 

Why is it that most of these conversations took place in my head just before trying to sleep?  I’d keep the television on trying to drown out the sound of my thoughts but nothing was working.

I also wanted to just be by myself.  I stayed inside and read as many psychological thrillers as I could get my hands on.  I’d look through the summary of the novels making sure the novel didn’t involve pregnancy or a baby because I just couldn’t deal with the subject matter.

During the two week wait the first time, I didn’t have one sip of alcohol and checked google to make sure I could eat certain things (“can I put goat cheese in a salad” or “can I eat babybels?”) If google suggested I avoid it, I completely eliminated it from my diet.

In that two week span, I was so hard on myself and promised myself that if I were to ever have a two week wait again, I would do things much differently.

Enter my two week wait this time.

This has seemed like a honeymoon compared to the last IUI two week wait.

The negative inner voice still appears but does so at a less alarming rate.  My positive inner voice is usually louder and can really challenge the negativity. 

So far I have had two glasses of wine and one can of cider during my two week wait.  I am also trying my best at staying in the moment and enjoying the process as much as I can.

I’ve also gotten out of the house.  When I am not out with a friend/friends, I have forced myself to get outside.  I’ve been walking a lot more and have seen A LOT of movies over the last bit.  In fact, I have seen “Booksmart”, “Aladdin”, “The Hustle”, and “Rocketman.”  The movies have allowed me to escape my own thoughts and to rest. Plus, if I do become pregnant, I have a feeling I won’t have as much time to go to the movies by myself.  I am really embracing these special moments.

Last time when I found out I wasn’t pregnant my eyes became a little teary for a moment but I didn’t cry.  This time I have a feeling that if the news is negative, it will be a lot harder on me. Everything just feels so right this time.

The next blog entry promises to be very emotional.  It will either be a very exciting post or it will be a really honest post about what it feels like to go through two IUI’s without getting pregnant.

Some have asked “what will you do next if you don’t get pregnant this round? Will you go for your third IUI?”

I am really torn when answering that question because thanks to my period tracking app, I know I’ll be ovulating on the exact date that I will be away with my girlfriends for a cottage weekend.  Everything in me tells me that I need to get the hell away.  I have worked so hard to make money for fertility and then have gone through a lot emotionally through these two IUI’s.  All I want is some time with friends two hours away.

One of my friends suggested just coming back on the day that I am ovulating but it is not that easy.  Unfortunately just before each of my IUI’s (which can be different for other people), I have spent every morning at the fertility clinic for a couple days straight waiting to find out the exact date of the IUI. I don’t want to keep leaving the fun with my friends (and driving two hours there and back) so that I can be monitored.

So if it doesn’t work, I will most likely take a break. 

I am going to allow myself time to just feel everything and I know that my gut will tell me what to do next.

Why am I thinking like that because everything in me is telling me that it worked and that I am pregnant. Now I may look like a fool next blog entry and I am prepared to admit that I was wrong if I need to.

Fingers crossed I can share some really exciting news next week!

Not Pregnant….Now What?

Not Pregnant…..Now What?

After waiting thirteen days after my IUI (sperm inside my uterus), I decided it was time to take a pregnancy test. Yes I know that I was supposed to wait fourteen days but I was too excited and anxious.

When my sister was expecting, my sister and brother-in-law filmed a video of everyone’s reactions when we found out that E was pregnant. The video features every family member being told that there was a new addition to the family.   I love watching the video because it just shows how excited we were and how much we loved my nephew before he was even born. Before I took my pregnancy test, I messaged my brother-in-law and he promised to make a video for me. All I would have to do is to start recording reactions.

Maybe it wouldn’t be as surprising as my sister/brother-in-law’s announcement (since it was totally unexpected) but I wanted to have something to look back on and show my future baby. That’s why I filmed my reaction when I took my pregnancy test.  For whatever reason, in the moment, I didn’t think I was pregnant.  Perhaps it was a coping mechanism that helped me feel better when the test result showed that I was not pregnant.

On the Saturday morning after my pregnancy test, my amazing sister J met me at the clinic and I had my blood taken to make sure that I wasn’t pregnant.  Friends kept telling me that tests are not always 100% accurate and that I should wait to get a blood test before fully admitting defeat.

The nurse did not need to call to tell me my news because my cycle returned while I was out for lunch with J and we celebrated with mimosas.  We celebrated that I could drink again and my sister helped me stay sane and helped me to have fun/laugh when receiving my news.  We both wished that we were celebrating my pregnancy but we also enjoyed drinking mimosas, wine, champagne and rose.

When the nurse called to tell me that I wasn’t pregnant I expected to cry and to feel sorry for myself.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am very emotional but for whatever reason, I didn’t cry. I think this was because of a variety of reasons:

  1. A couple of days before I got my result, I received an email from a sperm bank stating that my first choice in donor was available.  I had my name on a waiting list for months and I was so delighted that my first choice was available. For IUI #2 I am using a different donor.
  • All of my Etsy orders had not arrived.  Yes I ordered things on Etsy to announce the arrival of my future baby.  It’s been a weird week when everything has arrived congratulating me on my pregnancy when I am not, in fact pregnant.
  • I missed booze.  Specifically, I missed sitting on a patio and now I was able to do that.
  • I had J there to make me laugh the entire day.  We even danced to Beyoncé with her husband later on in the afternoon and a little Beyoncé can put a smile on anyone’s face.
  • My other sister E and I kept having these incredible phone conversations and I loved being able to chat with her and to hear her advice on everything Mom related. She helped to give me strength and helped to make me see that having kids was the best but that I should appreciate the time to myself (especially my current sleep schedule) before a future baby arrives.
  • I knew that IUI round 2 was gearing up and this time I didn’t feel as nervous and scared.  This time, I feel like I CAN get pregnant (fingers crossed).

The same day I found out I wasn’t pregnant, was the same day that I needed to call in to the fertility clinic to report my day one and start the process for another IUI.  The prep for my second IUI has been a little different because I am taking medication for this IUI.  My fertility medication is called Letrozole and is taken starting on day three for five days.  When I picked up the medication at Shoppers, I was a little scared as the pharmacist said “be careful with this medication.  There are a lot of side effects.”  So far (knock on wood), the only side effect that I have seen is that I am currently going through issues with acne at the age of 38.  Amazing.

Letrozole is used because it increases my chance in releasing more than one egg.  Studies show that it is less expensive than other fertility meds and there’s less of a risk of multiple pregnancies (Today’s Parent). According to the National Institute of Health, of the 374 women who received Letrozole, 27.5% experienced a live birth. Multiple pregnancy with twins occurred in 3.4% of the groups.

So here’s the big debate – do you take fertility meds to increase your chances of getting pregnant OR do you just stick to your natural cycle?

For me, I relied on my doctor to give me stats and from there; she helped me to make an informed decision.  Fertility is expensive.  A woman connected with me today and wrote that she had 15 IUI’s and six miscarriages. I can’t even imagine.  It just goes to show that women are strong AF.  If she can go through 15 IUI’s, I can gear up for round two without an issue. I also can’t begin to imagine how much this affected her emotionally and financially. I’m planning of having a maximum of three IUI’s and that is going to cost me a minimum of $5000.00. 

The big worry (I pretty much worry all the time now), is that I could have multiples.  While J was with me at the fertility clinic we started looking at the pictures on one of the fertility doctor’s wall.  It was hundreds of birth announcements and thank you’s complete with the world’s sweetest baby pictures.

“Do you see what I see?” my sister asked.

“The cutest babies?” I asked.

“Take a look at the number of twins” she sister said.

Then we started counting twins and soon realized that it seemed that every third baby announcement contained a picture with twins.

At this point, I don’t even want to think about having twins on my own and every time someone asks me about it, a chill runs through my body.

So now it is go time round two.  I think I am ready as I can be and my IUI will be taking place in the next week or so (as long as everything is in order).  Bring on the blood tests, ultrasounds, and waiting in lines for 1,000 years.  I am ready and have a feeling that I will be pregnant VERY soon.