Monday, February 27, 2017

Pregnancy Update: Week 30

I swear these weeks re starting to go by faster now. I hope this pace keeps up, because I am ready to for the end! This week of pregnancy brought a new nuance...stretch marks. I thought I was going to sneak free of getting theses suckers as I've been lathering on lotion like...well...someone who lathers a lot of lotion on. But I have a few. I bought a new cream called Mederma to see if it will help any in the long run. I also realized I haven't been talking about weight gain at all in any of my updates. So far as of today, 2/27/17 I have gained 27lbs. Which is a little scary. I hear a lot of women gain a pound a week in the final trimester which means I could potentially gain 10 more pounds and on my small frame, I don't know how I'll function.

The skin on my belly this week has started to itch like CRAZY! And there is really nothing I can do about it. If I try to even lightly scratch it, it burns. I thought mosquito bites were something to complain about. I got another prenatal massage last week, and I think I'd rather have paid for her to give me a good scratch down (please don't read that as creepily and weirdly as it sounds).

In our prepared birth class this week, we learned more about the different stages of labor and comforting techniques. We also went over what to expect with my body postpartum. I am happy to report, that the biggest fear I have about labor is no longer not getting an epidural. I know the pain is going to be mad crazy intense, but I figure if I've arrived at the hospital too late for an epidural, than I've already gone through a lot of the painful contraction, now all I'd have to deal with is the "ring of fire" birth. My new big episiotomy or tearing. It does not sound like fun to have to try and use the bathroom after that.

In the world of Pregnancy fitness. I'm slowing down more. I've found it hard to summon the same energy I had in the 2nd trimester. I'm starting to believe that the 2nd trimester really is the "honeymoon" trimester of pregnancy. This week I was able to workout 5 out of 7 days.

  • Sunday, 2/19 - 1 hour walk
  • Monday, 2/20 - 30mins elliptical + 30 minute walk
  • Tuesday, 2/21 - 30min walk + 40 minute swim
  • Wednesday, 2/22 - 45min walk
  • Thursday, 2/23 - 35min walk
  • Friday, 2/24 - 40min walk
  • Saturday, 2/25 - 45min swim
Pre-swim bathroom selfie...classy...I know!

As you can see there was a lot of walking last week, I'm not even really sure if I can consider walking as exercise, but my heart rate gets high enough that I consider it exercise. I swam twice this week, and I m loving it. As I feel my running journey coming to an end with this pregnancy, I might replace it with swimming. I'm excited to see what this week will bring!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Journey Through Infertility Pt. 4, IVF Results

This is the final part in a series about my journey with infertility.

***Disclaimer: I'm getting down and dirty with my journey of infertility and the process involved. I will be using anatomical terms, sex and bodily fluids in my descriptions. Basically I want to paint as real of a picture as I can. If it's not something you think you can handle, I suggest you stop reading now.***

I left off saying that I was given instructions that I would have to be on bed rest for the next 3 days. Their definition of bed rest meant, no more than 1 flights of stairs per day, and less than 15 minutes of walking around per day. This was really hard for me. I'm a stir crazy person, so 3 days without moving...torture. After the 3 days, starts the dreaded 2 week wait. In 2 weeks time I would be able to take a pregnancy test to see if it worked. I had to wait to weeks because pregnancy test are actually testing for hCG in the blood, and since I had given myself the shot before the ER it could produce a false positive if I took it earlier than that. During those 2 weeks, I swear I was feeling funny in my abdomen and I swore I was more tired and thirsty than normal. I had built all of this up so much that I was certain it has worked and I was pregnant.

I got the okay to start running again during the 2 week wait I was told to run very slowly because they didn't want me to "shake things up" down there. 2 days before I was scheduled to go in for my pregnancy test, I started bleeding. I was so completely devastated! That whole time I convinced myself it had worked, that I was one of the 37% of women who got pregnant the first time. I was so upset that day, I went out on a 6 mile run with a friend, and I gave it all I had. I ran like I was racing, I just kept telling myself there was no point to slow down, it didn't work anyway. By the end of the run I was gasping for air and ready to burst into tears. When I got home, I told Max the news that I had started my period and I lost it. I started crying uncontrollably. I thought it had worked, what was wrong with me? I felt bad because Max was trying to console me, but I was inconsolable. I cried myself to sleep that night.

The next day I continued to mope around, but I was no longer crying. I went to work with the happiest face I could muster and somehow made it through the day. When I got home, it occurred to me that I hadn't bled at all that day (which is rare for me as my first 3 days of my period are very heavy). I had told a co-worker that the IVF didn't work because I started to bleed and that meant my period was starting. She mentioned that it could be implantation bleeding. I Googled implantation bleeding and I tried to keep my hopes down this time. I didn't want to fool myself into thinking the IVF worked. Even though I still had to wait until the next day to take the blood pregnancy test, I went out and bought a pregnancy test. I took it got a big fat positive (BFP). As excited as I was, I still was wary that the hCG from the shot could still be floating around in there.

The blood pregnancy test I took the next day was a 2 part series. The first, a baseline test, would test the level of hCG in my blood and then I would go back in in 3 days and take another test and they would compare the levels of my first test, to my second test. If the second test showed a higher amount of hCG in my blood, the test was positive. The day I took the second blood pregnancy test, I got the call from my doctor, that I was in fact pregnant. I cannot even begin to explain the joy, relief and fear that set in. I was so happy to be one of the 37% that got pregnant on their very first try. I was excited that I was finally going to get to become a mother, and I was also terrified that I was going to become a mother.

Since I got the BFP I continued running and exercising. My doctor said exercise wouldn't cause an automatic miscarriage. I have definitely taken it a lot easier since I found out though...just in case.

If you missed it, you can read the previous parts in the series by clicking the links below.

Part 1, Clomid and Ultrasounds
Part 2, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Part 3, In Vitro Fertilization

Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Journey Through Infertility Pt. 3, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

***Disclaimer: I'm getting down and dirty with my journey of infertility and the process involved. I will be using anatomical terms, sex and bodily fluids in my descriptions. Basically I want to paint as real of a picture as I can. If it's not something you think you can handle, I suggest you stop reading now.***

This is the 3rd part in a series about my journey with infertility. If you missed it, here is part 1 and part 2.

I left off with taking a pregnancy test and it showing as negative, we were left with a few options after that point. Adoption, going back to trying au naturale, doing a laparoscopy procedure to see if I had endometriosis, or in vitro fertilization (IVF). My husband and I were seriously considering all options. I'd always thought that I may have had endometriosis as I have nearly every symptom. Dr. F told us that if we went the laparoscopy path, that if any endometrial growth was found, it would be removed and there was a likely chance it would grow back. We decided against this option because what if I had endometriosis and they removed them, then while we were trying to conceive they grew back and we'd be right back in the same boat we are now minus $10,000.

Around this time we were still looking in to adoption. In all honesty, I'd always wanted to adopt because I was adopted myself and I think of where I would have ended up were it not for a family of my own. However, with the application process, home studies and the hefty $40,000 fee for a private adoption we were hesitant. We briefly considered foster-to-adopt, but were afraid of losing a child we'd fallen in love with.

We went back in and spoke with the doctor about IVF (colloquially known as artificial insemination). We went over costs, the procedure, and the odds of conceiving. The actual procedure of IVF itself was around $9,500 and medication that would need to be taken prior to would range from $3,000 to $6,000. Then there was an egg storage fee of $995 and an embryo transfer fee of about $3,000. If you are not a human calculator, that equates to $22,495 and there was a 37% chance of conceiving a child on the first go (at this specific facility). The doctor said that on average it takes around 3 times of IVF treatments to conceive and bear a child. If it really took us 3 times, than we were looking at a total cost of $67,485 (keep in mind, our insurance did not cover any of this, we would have to pay all out of pocket). The doctor told us we could finance the cost, but my husband and I didn't like the idea of taking our baby out on loan. Adoption was starting to sound like a good option as we would be guaranteed a child with the $40,000.

After a lot of discussion back and forth, Max and I finally decided to give IVF a try, but one round only. If that didn't work, adoption it was. Max's dad kindly gave us $10,000 towards the procedure. We found out for me, the cost of meds would be around $3,000. I had to sit with an IVF nurse coordinator who went over the entire procedure in depth. In short, I would start off with an ultrasound after my last period. Then I was given instructions about the medication I was to take. I would have to inject Lupron (a drug that basically stops your menstrual cycle and more importantly it stops ovulation, this way any eggs can fully develop and the doctor could control when they are released.) into my abdomen 2 times a day, once in the morning, and then again at night for the first 2 weeks. After that, I would start injecting both Gonal-F (a follicle stimulating hormone to promote ovaries to mature multiple eggs rather than just one) and the absolute worst injection ever, Menopur (helps eggs to mature). I lovingly referred to Menopur as liquid fire. That's what it felt like going in, it burned sooooo bad. So, all in all, I was injecting my self 4 times per day throughout the process.

When I first started the IVF process, I was right in the middle of training for the San Francisco Half Marathon and was told by the doctors, when I start the IVF treatments, I wouldn't be allowed to exercise. I begged and pleaded with my doctors if there was anyway I could still run the half. They agreed and said absolutely no exercise after July 31, 2016. I had a doctors appointment the Monday following the race and found out I had about 11 fully mature eggs I was carrying around and they decided it was time to start the egg retrieval process. I had to give myself one more injection, an hCG shot to trigger ovulation.

The egg retrieval (ER) process is a very vulnerable experience. I was completely out, under anesthesia, with my legs in stirrups and my husband was not allowed to be in the room during the procedure. I'd done my online research prior to the ER and a lot of women said when they woke up, they looked about 4 months pregnant because of all the bloating. A lot of women also talked about extreme pain immediately after. When I woke up from the procedure my belly looked normal. Yes, I was slightly sore, but nothing like what I had read. As the days went on, I did get a little more sore and a little more bloated, but again, nothing extreme. They were able to get 9 eggs from me.

During the next 5 days, the doctor combined the eggs he had taken from me and my husbands sperm and allowed them to fertilize and grow in a petri dish. After 5 days, I went back in to have 1 embryo transferred (Max and I were able to decide how many we wanted implanted at one time we went with one). They told us that they were able to fertilize 7 of the 9 eggs (the rest would go into storage for future use). During this procedure I was kept awake but given Valium to help me relax. I gotta say, me on Valium is pretty trippy. Everything felt like it was happening in a dream and not real life. Anyway, there were able to transfer the one fertilized egg directly to my uterus and I was told I would be on bed rest (they called them "princess days") for the next 3 days, then after that, I would be able to take a blood pregnancy test in 2 weeks.

I will leave off here as it's a good stopping point. My final post in the series will be how I felt during the 2 week wait and the results, which have already been spoiled multiple times by me :).

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Pregnancy Update, Week 29

Yep, that's about how I'm feeling now.
Wow, week 29 has already came and went. Zoe is really starting to pick up with her wiggles and I'm getting more and more excited to meet her. I've noticing myself wondering what she looks like in there now. Our last 4d ultrasound was almost 3 months fact that was also my last ultrasound. I wonder how big she is, what she looks like...

This week, the fatigue has started to kick back in. I notice by the end of the day all I want to do is lay down. Honestly, most of the day, all I can think about is when I'll get to lay down. I still haven't let this interfere with my staying active plans, but it's just starting to get harder. The motivation I felt after making up that pregnancy workout plan is waning, but I think I might have actually established a habit. Pre-pregnancy I was so used to running, I ran even when I absolutely didn't want to, and so far, the same has been true with my exercise schedule. This last week there was only one day I didn't stay on schedule. I was feeling completely exhausted and I had really pushed myself the day before. I thought that my body needed a rest and I might do more damage if I didn't rest, so I made it a rest day instead.

I actually got up to a full on run this week. Most of "runs" have been barely above a walking pace, but I actually got up to more of a running pace, and while I could hold it, it felt so good and freeing. Again, I did pay for it the next day, but it was worth it. Here is what my week looked like:
  • -Sunday 2/12 - Rest
  • -Monday 2/13 - 30 minute walk and 40 minutes on the elliptical followed by leg circuit
  • -Tuesday 2/14 - 30 minutes walk and 30 minute run/walk followed by arm circuit
  • -Wednesday 2/15 - 45 minutes walk and 45 minutes of yoga
  • -Thursday 2/16 - 45 minute run/walk followed by arm circuit
  • -Friday 2/17 - Rest
  • Saturday 2/18 - 4 mile run/walk
Again, another pretty good week for me activity wise. My husband and I started a prepared birth class on Wednesday and will be going every Wednesday for the next 6 weeks. In the first class we learned about the signs of labor and different stages. I have to admit, I'm even more terrified of giving birth than I was prior to the class. We watched countless women in all the different stages of labor. I loved that at the end of the class a women raised her hand and asked if we'd be learning about epidurals sometime soon. My thoughts exactly.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Unfortunate Truths Regarding How I feel About My Own Pregnancy

I really don't want to write this post.

I feel guilty even thinking the things I have been thinking.

I hate the negative energy I'm likely passing on to my unborn child.

But I feel if I don't get this out, these thoughts will continue to consume me.

I hate being pregnant...

There...I said's out. I hate being pregnant. It's been hard for me to hold onto this facade of loving every moment, when it's just not true. I have had multiple friends tell me how much they loved being pregnant, that this was the best time of their lives. I feel absolutely guilty saying that this has probably been one of the worst times of my life. What I'm about to say next is probably the most selfish thing someone can say when carrying a child, but I miss being me.

I miss being able to walk more than 10 minutes with braxton hicks contractions starting up and then continuing for the rest of the day.

I miss being able to eat a full meal and not feel like my stomach is going to rip open from being so full.

I miss being able to run without stopping every few minutes to catch my breath.

I miss shopping for whatever clothes I want and not being limited to a tiny rack at a store.

I miss sleeping on my stomach and/or back.

I miss being able to eat a slice of pizza without massive heartburn following.

I've been reading a ton of running mother blogs and looking at #pregnantrunner and #runningfortwo posts on instagram for inspiration, hoping I'd feel better, but the sad truth is, it only makes me more bitter. Why are there so many blogger and women on instagram that are 32+ weeks pregnant still able to run 6+ miles at a sub 10min/mi pace? While I struggle to run for more than 2 minutes without my heart rate going through the roof. Why are there so many women that no longer feel nauseous after 14 weeks, and here I am almost 30 and still throwing up? Where is this pregnancy glow I've been hearing so much about?

I honestly don't understand why any woman would do this to themselves again and have a second child.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate my unborn child, I know this precious little thing inside of me is growing and preparing to make her grand entrance into the world, and I am absolutely not placing any blame on her. I love knowing that my body is capable of creating life. I love the thought of becoming a mother, but this pregnancy has just been hard. I mean I asked for this, in fact I paid a lot of money for this to happen. I want to be happy, but for some reason I just can't be. All I can think about is the fact that I can't wait until this is all over. When I can finally have my body back.

I decided to do a little research and I came across a website talking about "antenatal depression". On this website a woman shared her story about pregnancy. she said

"Where was my pregnancy glow?  Why did I feel like all I did was complain, vent and whine?" and “I just remember feeling a crushing weight and numbness. I wanted to not be pregnant anymore ...all my joy left like I was in a vacuum – and I was suddenly convinced a new baby was the end of everything as I knew it.”

This is exactly how I am feeling and it actually makes me feel better to know that I'm not alone in these thoughts. I'm going to keep research about antenatal depression, because I don't like feeling like this. There is one quote that has been crossing my mind a lot lately and I think it's kind of my motto right now.

This is what I need to hear.

To end this post on a more positive note, I really am excited to be a mother and I cannot wait to meet Zoe in the flesh. One thing I have loved about this pregnancy is feeling her little (sometimes not so little) kicks and punches. It's incredible to think that there is a life growing inside of me and as much as I am complaining, I am already honored to be her mother!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Pregnancy Update: Week 28

Whew, first week of the 3rd trimester down! Zoe (or Zobot as I like to call her) and I have been pretty active this week. She is kicking like...well, something that kicks a lot (donkey?) Sometimes I think she really wants out, like right now! I think it's starting to really become a reality to me that I have a living being in my belly right now. It's crazy that when she's wiggling around in there, I can press when I feel movement and she reacts by punching/kicking my hand away (feeling the love). I cannot wait to meet here, I think I'm already getting a sense of her personality. I think she is going to be a feisty little thing.

As far as the exercise realm goes, I am happy to report yet again, that I got in some sort of exercise 6 of the last 7 days. I even went to the gym this week and spent some time on the elliptical and lifting. I got a few encouraging looks, and a few discouraging looks. I even had one person comment that since I was still running/exercising while pregnant, I must not care about my baby, because it's the worst thing I can do. Not gonna lie that got me pretty upset (granted he was a man and an older one). Since becoming pregnant I've gotten a lot of advice I never asked for. I've heard more horror stories regarding pregnancy, labor, deliver, and postpartum life than I ever card to hear, but when people butt in with their unfounded opinions, it bothers be. Exercise is actually one of the best things I can do for me and my baby. In fact I wrote nearly and entire post about it. There are just too many benefits of staying active while pregnant to care about what others think. My OB is on board with my activity, so I'm not going to let him bring me down. Here is a quick look at what I did this past week:

  • -Sunday 2/5 - 3 Mile walk
  • -Monday 2/6 - 2 Mile walk and 30 min Run/Walk @ 5% incline
  • -Tuesday 2/7 - 40 min walk and 1/2 mile run arm circuit, 1/2 mile run arm circuit (repeated 2x)
  • -Wednesday 2/8 - 40 min walk, and 35 mins on elliptical followed by leg circuit
  • -Thursday 2/9 - 40 min run/walk
  • -Friday 2/10 - Rest
  • Saturday 2/11 - 1 hour run/walk
I am happy with how last week went. I didn't really feel any discomfort when exercising, so I am excited to keep going. I ran outside on Saturday and again (like last Saturday) it felt so good to feel the breeze and fresh air. There were also so many smiling faces along the way. Looking forward to more activity from both me and Zoe this week!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Journey Through Infertility Pt.2, Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

***Disclaimer: I'm getting down and dirty with my journey of infertility and the process involved. I will be using anatomical terms, sex and bodily fluids in my descriptions. Basically I want to paint as real of a picture as I can. If it's not something you think you can handle, I suggest you stop reading now.***

This is the 2nd of a 3 part series discussing my journey with infertility. If you want to read the first part, you can find it here. For this part I'm going to be talking about Intrauterine insemination (IUI) also known as artificial insemination.

Once we realized that the Clomid was working, but not resulting in a pregnancy, our doctor sat down with us to discuss the next steps. He gave us 4 different options, continue on Clomid with ultrasound monitoring, have a laparoscopy performed to see if I had endometriosis (I mentioned earlier to him that I seemed to have all of the symptoms), do a procedure called IUI, move to in vitro fertilization (IVF), or do nothing and try on our own. He told us the most cost effective step was to move onto IUI, so that is what we chose to do. As a side note, I do want to clarify the cost of the "cost effective" IUI. Again, I have medical insurance, but it does not cover infertility treatments so we were paying completely out of pocket. The cost of the ultrasounds where still $250 a pop but now, each time I went in for the actual IUI procedure it was cost an additional $750.

With IUI, I had to continue taking the Clomid and go to the doctors office for 2 ultrasounds, the main difference being, that now my husband had to supply what they referred to as a "sample". This sample was taken and cleaned to remove any dead or slow swimmers. On my second ultrasound, I would lie down, feet in stirrups and the doctor would physically take my husbands semen and directly place it past my cervix. The reason for doing this is sometimes sperm is unable to travel through the cervix to the uterus because of weak swimmers or perhaps the shape of a women's tubes aren't conducive for easy swimming, etc. By placing the sperm directly in the uterus, it bypasses any reasons they might not have made it there on their own.
Here's a fun diagram for everyone.

Doctor F suggested we do this procedure up to 3 times, if it doesn't work after 3 times, then it will likely not work period. This process was a little more awkward than the previous treatment. Instead of a female nurse practitioner dimming the lights, quickly inserting the trans-vaginal probe and covering me back up while she looked at the screen, I had my doctor pull up a chair and pop a squat right in front of me and all my exposed glory. He would then work on getting the sperm to where it needed to be while making small talk with me. The entire process from me assuming the position on the table to the doctor taking off his gloves was about 5 minutes. The procedure itself was a little uncomfortable. I felt slight cramping each time and would bleed a little afterwards.

After 3 tries at IUI, we were still unsuccessful in actually making a baby. It's kind of crazy, I convinced myself that this procedure would work. The first procedure with the Clomid and ultrasounds only were to make sure I was ovulating. I know I didn't have any tube blockage thanks to the dye test I'd done earlier. This procedure was putting the sperm right where it needed to be, it had to work. When it didn't, I again felt like a failure. After the last failed pregnancy test, my doctor brought us in immediately to talk about what to do next. Again, we were presented with the same exact options, although my husband and I were considering a 5th option at this point, adoption.

Stay tuned for the last and final in my series about infertility...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pregnancy update: Week 27

Woo hoo, I have finally reached the 3rd trimester. It's crazy how fast it seemed to creep up, but it's also crazy to think I still have 3 months left! I'm not gonna lie, I am over being pregnant. I have been browsing a lot of pregnancy forums lately, and I must say, I think I should stop complaining so much, because there are a lot of women out there who are due around the same time as me, who are having it worse than me. Constant peeing, fatigue, hemorrhoids, loss of balance, hip, rib and back pain is just the start of some of these ladies complaints. I have been so far lucky to not really experience any of these ailments. I do have some back pain if I've been up and about for a long period of time (walking 4+ miles), but even then, it's not really that bad. I don't have the "urge" to pee really anymore than I did prior to pregnancy.

I really only have two complaints. The first, I am still experiencing morning sickness. Yep, I am one of the "lucky ones" (as my doctor says) who might experience the loveliness of nausea and vomiting throughout my entire pregnancy. The other complaint, the feeling of being incredibly full, all the freaking time. I have found that I often have to choose between eating and drinking. Not both, If I eat and drink, my stomach feels like it's bursting at the seam. It's uncomfortable to breathe, walk, sit, or lie down at that point. I still haven't mastered the art of small meals several times a day and am still eating like my old ways (3 big meals). I was proud of myself for the last two days in that I finally ate smaller meals and snacked in between.

As far as how my fitness plan has been's been going great so far. For the last 3 weeks, I have consistently done some sort of activity at least 5x per week. Here is a glimpse of what last week looked like:

  • - Sunday, 1/29 - 4.5 mile walk
  • - Monday, 1/30 - 2 mile walk
  • - Tuesday, 1/31 - 3 mile walk
  • - Wednesday, 2/1 - 30 min run/walk + leg circuit
  • - Thursday, 2/2 - 3 mile walk
  • - Friday, 2/3 - 35min on elliptical + leg circuit
  • - Saturday, 2/4 - 3 mile run/walk
  • - Sunday, 2/5 - 3 mile walk

Shameless bathroom selfie after Saturday's run/walk.

There is definitely room for improvement in last week. The 2 previous weeks, I was sticking pretty well to my no excuses preggo workout plan, but this week I didn't feel like hoping on the treadmill so much. I need to start doing my upper body circuits more, I have no upper body strength, and I'm going to need it for lugging a baby around.

I'm happy that I am running again and still. There was about a 10 week period where I wasn't running t all because I was so sick. While running is difficult (in fact I've dubbed my running "wogging") and slow now, it still feels great to get out there and put some miles in. I hope to keep it up as long as my body allows. Welp, that's all for now! 
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