This post is a little (a lot) later than intended- I am currently more than half way through my second trimester. I found it difficult to allow myself to do some of the “fun” things earlier in this pregnancy, and I wrote about why in this post. I didn’t take any photos of myself, but thanks to constant monitoring I do have lots of photos of our little baby 🙂
I already feel like I have forgotten a lot of the details of the first trimester- if I’m honest it doesn’t feel like the same pregnancy as the one I’m in now, probably because my mindset has changed so much. It would be such a shame not to document it, so here I go!
Deciding to try again
I lost my right fallopian tube in a ruptured ectopic pregnancy in early May this year. Trying again afterwards not on my radar at all. I usually would give myself a few months break after suffering a loss, and this time my initial thoughts were more like 12 months. It was amazing that only a couple of weeks later I changed my tune. We made a plan with our RE to try again in a few months. I was motivated, and I was feeling beyond ready for it to be our turn to have our baby. We were not allowed to try again until I healed from my surgery and confirmed through a HSG ultrasound whether my remaining tube was clear- I had the HSG in early July and it turned out that my left tube was perfect. We were given to go-ahead. We tried that month and didn’t conceive.
I had a BIG dilemma in late July about whether I was ready to take clomid again. We had taken it to conceive our third pregnancy, and it had worked the first time on the lowest dose (25mg). I feel like every pregnancy changes your body completely, so who knew what would happen this time. But I also knew our chances of success were reasonably high. My immunity had been low since the surgery and I had been sick a lot. In my mind I felt I should wait a couple of months, but I had a very strong gut feeling telling me to go for it (and so did my husband), so we did. By some miracle, around the time we conceived is when I actually started to feel good in body and mind.
Finding out we were pregnant
Warning: this story is not cute! In two of my three previous pregnancies I had bleeding at around the time my period was due, so I did not find out I was pregnant until 4 weeks later. Because this was very dangerous in the case of the ectopic, I decided to always take a pregnancy test when my period arrived. I also had quite short cycles in the 12 months prior (I am certain this was stress related, and hence the clomid) and my RE instructed me to call her if I had another short one so that we could increase the dose. I had spotting before work one Monday morning, so I rang James to tell him I was calling the RE before starting clomid again the next day. He asked if I had done a test yet- I hadn’t. He told me to hang up, do a test, and call him back. I did- and it was a faint positive. It turns out I was 3.5 weeks pregnant. I was shocked and felt numb. I rang James (“I’m pregnant?”), I called my RE, went and had a blood test and went to work. By that afternoon I was bleeding heavily. By some miracle half of my patients cancelled that day, and I sat in my car and cried and cried. We assumed this was a chemical pregnancy, and I would have my blood drawn in another two days.
*Funny side note: after I had my blood drawn in the morning, I got a call from a radio station for a competition my friend had entered us in. I wished I had never answered my phone. I was on the air for what felt like an eternity (my worst nightmare!). The whole day felt so surreal. We didn’t win the competition, but looking back now I find it funny that I will be able to tell our baby that I was on the radio the day that I found out we were pregnant.
Two mornings later I did another pregnancy test. The line was much darker. I felt a glimmer of hope. I had a blood test, and my RE called me with the results the next day- they were good. She told me to keep some hope, but to also be realistic given my history and the fact that I was bleeding. She also told me that many women bleed heavily at the beginning and everything can be ok- I think the clomid just does this to me. I remained terrified, but deep down I had a gut feeling that everything was going to be fine- this was it.
We kept up the close monitoring (which was always going to happen given my previous ectopic), and every time the news was good. I had an ultrasound at 5.5 weeks- too early to see a heartbeat, but we knew that this pregnancy was not ectopic.
Symptoms come and go
I assumed that for this pregnancy to be successful, I would have to have stronger symptoms than in previous pregnancies. Not the case. I have felt more well during this pregnancy than I had in a long time. Sure I was tired- but less so than I had been in the last few months. The sore boobs and slight nausea showed up at around 6.5 weeks and peaked at around 9-10 weeks. One night I cried in the middle of the night when I woke up and my boobs weren’t sore anymore. Some days I didn’t feel nauseous. I want to reassure my pregnant friends reading this that it is normal for your symptoms to come and go. I also had cramping and twinging pains regularly until around 10 or 11 weeks. When these came on I would just sit or lie down (if I could) and rest until they passed. Another symptom (that I still have, though it’s much better in the second trimester) is insomnia. I knew this was common later in pregnancy, but I had no idea it was so common so early too.
My job is physical so I took it very easy- I let my receptionist in on the secret and we booked in fake patients to make sure I had plenty of breaks. I kept up my weekly acupuncture visits and kept seeing my naturopath. I’m sure that this helped my symptoms too.
My main cravings were for fruit and french fries, carbs and cheese. There were a few days that I couldn’t stop thinking about hash browns- I bought a packet of frozen ones from the supermarket and ate the whole thing in two days. Pineapple was usually the first thing I ate in the morning, and the last thing I ate at night- perhaps my instagram feed played a role in the one?! I have never eaten so many strawberries in my life. And I consumed about 50 packets of plain biscuits to keep the nausea away, of course! I also found that Gin Gin ginger lollies and a slice of lemon in sparkling water worked a treat.
I didn’t have many aversions in the first few weeks (which didn’t help my anxiety much- I was feeling WAY too good to pregnant!), so I continued to eat well while I could. Then the usual ones came- meat and vegetables. James went away for 10 days and I didn’t eat any meat that wasn’t chicken. Now the thought of chicken isn’t so great! I found breakfast and lunch doable, but dinner time was a little distressing! The nausea was definitely at its worst in the late afternoon and night. I would make sure I had only a tiny bit of food on my plate to pick at, and even that would seem intimidating. I didn’t actually vomit until I was 13 weeks (a fact I find slightly hilarious), and taking my supplements was definitely the most difficult time of day, and still is. I feel like the food aversions went away almost completely by around 17 weeks.
I took baby aspirin from the day I found out I was pregnant until 12 weeks (ok, so maybe I weaned myself off until 14 weeks!). The reason I did this was because I have tested positive on two occasions for ANA. My RE gave me the impression that she didn’t think I needed it, but she was happy to recommend it since there is no harm in taking it either. Did it make a difference? We’ll never know!
A double edged sword! I would feel so anxious leading up to the next beta result/ultrasound, but then so relieved after the news was good- for a few days anyway (“I know everything was ok a few days ago, but is it still ok now??”). Initially the monitoring was to ensure that the pregnancy was not ectopic, and that my remaining tube was protected. Then our old endometrioma friend became the reason for monitoring.
The endometrioma was growing on my right ovary (probably a good thing since it means my good ovary and open tube were on the same side!). It showed up as a small lesion in March this year. We checked it in the HSG ultrasound in July, and it has more than doubled in size. It was roughly the same at my 5.5 week pregnancy ultrasound, but at 8 weeks it had grown again. I had experienced a lot of unexplained pain in my right abdomen in the last 18 months (which turns out to be referred from a lower back problem), and my OB said that I would probably need surgery to remove it since they can be cancerous or they can rupture. Hopefully we could wait until I was 14 weeks pregnant for the surgery. As if this pregnancy wasn’t already stressful enough! Another ultrasound at 10 weeks showed it was the same size. At 12 weeks it had shrunk, and surgery was off the table! (At 20 weeks it has shrunk A LOT and we know it is definitely benign. I feel like such a weight has been lifted from my shoulders).
While stressful, the plus side of the constant monitoring is that we have some amazing progress shots of our baby’s growth- which few people get to see. While we had some complications early in this pregnancy, every beta result and every ultrasound has showed that our baby is growing perfectly and very healthy.
I deserve to have a happy, healthy pregnancy and a happy, healthy baby
I began repeating this mantra to myself, and I really believe it. Not because I think that people who have had a hard time deserve this more than those who haven’t, but because I believe that this is what every woman deserves.
(Attempting To) Keep Calm
This was hard (again, I have written about it in my previous post). I had started seeing a counselor in May, and I kept seeing her fortnightly. This helped tremendously. I spoke to my ttc sisters, I unfollowed accounts that I found negative or scary and I just took one day at a time. It really is the only way. I can honestly say that this pregnancy has gone very quickly- especially the first trimester.
A few times when I was feeling nervous before an ultrasound I would go and buy a little something for the baby, to tell myself that this was really happening. That helped me too.
It’s funny that as I write this I don’t feel like I am describing the same pregnancy as the one I’m in right now. I think it is because I’ve allowed my mind and heart to open to the fact that this is really happening. I’m looking forward to sharing a much more fun filled second trimester update with you soon, because I honestly am loving being pregnant and feeling a lot less stress right now 🙂
All my love,