April 28, 2010

16 weeks and 3 days u/s... BIG SURPRISE day!!

Today was THE big day.. we went for our 16 weeks scan and we could hardly wait. We got there early as usual, chatted with the nurses and waited for the doctor. They took my blood preassure which is always good, thank God, and weight which has not increased since my last weight check 3 weeks ago. I thought I was going to be so much more instead I am still the same. They made me do it twice just to make sure. The doctor said we shall see how things progress as we move along. She asked me if I felt the baby moving and I said that only once a couple of nights ago I felt butterflies in my uterus area and she said that it sounds like it might have been the baby moving. She reassured me that eventually I will feel it more and more.
We finally got around to the u/s.. my favourite part of them all. In no time our little Peanut appeared on the monitor looking so much bigger than last time. She measured the head and Peanut is measuring a week ahead which is good which according to the monitor would bring the due date to the 5th of October (just a day before our anniversary!!). We saw the hands and legs and the spine and ribs and the two sides of the brain. All looks exactly like it should look. Then D asked her if we could hear the heart beating. She first found the heart on the monitor and then in no time we heard it.. the most magical sound I have ever heard. I had tears flowing down my cheeks and D's eyes were tearing up too. It was an amazing sound. She said the heart was beating around 120-140 and that it sounded healthy and strong. I could have listened to it all day long.
Then the doctor asked us if we wanted to know as Peanut's private parts are well developed now. So she got to where she needed to look and said.."looks like you are having a GIRL!!" I screamed out loud.. "a GIRL??" All this time here I was thinking we are having a boy due to earlier u/s when things still looked like they could have gone one way or the other, and now we are having a GIRL. We never minded either way, we know we are super lucky and blessed to have a baby and that it does not matter as long as the baby is healthy and strong. I had a the biggest smile because yet again my instincts were so wrong. First I thought I was not pregnant and that my body let me down yet again, then I spent 4 months thinking we are having a boy and obsessing over boy's names, when it came so natural to come up with a girl's name, Isabella Anna. Life really has its own ways of surprising you in the most beautiful of ways.
I don't know what she is going to be like but what I know is that she is going to be a daddy's girl. Before we started TTC D has always said how much he would like a girl.. not as a first child or anything specific but just to have a girl. He has a brother and his cousins are all brothers so I knew he longed for a girl. She is truly going to be his sweetie pie.. For me it's different because I always thought I would have had a boy first and here I am pregnant with a girl and loving it. Then again I have never been a girly girl and yet since getting pregnant I started dressing more girly and in more colours that even D has noticed... I think Isabella is inspiring mommy to be more girly already!
What I do know is that it takes a super strong girl to make it to where Isabella is right now. She made it against all odds and she is the most amazing miracle of miracles... I am so blessed to be her mommy... (tears are starting piling up.. better go!)

April 26, 2010

Project IF as part of the National Infertility Awareness Week

In honour of the National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24th till May 1st), Mel in collaboration with Resolve has come up with Project IF. The second part of the Project If is he collection of What If experiences .. this is mine:

What if I didn’t live in a time and place where ART was an option?

D and I often wonder the "What Ifs" of our story to date. What if we started earlier? What if we didn't move abroad and could not have afforded IVF? What if we lived in a country that allowed you to preserve your embryos for future use? You get the picture. Out of all these Ifs, the one that stands out to me the most is .. What if we lived in a time and place where IVF was not an option?

If I was TTC during my parents years I would probably never be pregnant. I had an great uncle and aunt who never had kids but who adopted instead. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary with that as a child and it wasn't until I grew up that I found out the reason they adopted. My aunt and uncle got pregnant with twins before getting married. In those days having babies out of wedlock was as bad as a sin. So they decided to have an abortion. The person that performed the abortion did a really bad job and as a result my aunt was left infertile. They adopted a little girl years later. I suppose that if D and I lived in those times that's what we would be looking into right now. Instead thanks to modern technology here we are 16 weeks pregnant with our Peanut.

There hasn't been a day that we don't thank our lucky stars for this miracle. We cannot stop saying to everyone who wants to hear it how blessed we really are. Our chances of conceiving looked grim and with a failed IVF cycle behind us we really thought that God might have had a different plan for us. But then we started cycle number 2 and on January 25th we found out that the impossible had indeed become possible. The years of tears, suffering and pain we had just been through now looked light years away because all was good in our world again.

People have already asked me if we will do IVF again for baby number 2 (I am only 16 weeks pregnant with Peanut!!!) Well unless my ovarian reserves magically improves rather than keep on diminishing and my tubes naturally open up than I say, yes IVF is on the cards again. I read that many IVF moms start TTC again as soon as their first baby is born. I think that we might end up being like those people in a year or so. Of course my mind gets clogged up with fresh What Ifs... What if by the time we start TTC again after Peanut is born we find out I have no eggs left? What if I stop working and we cannot afford to pay for IVF again? What if IVF doesn't work again? We were out for dinner recently and someone asked us if we would go through IVF again to add to the family later on and D's reply was realistic and so moving. He said: "Yes we will try IVF again as it worked for us in the end but if it doesn't work again, than we should know not to be too heartbroken because we have been blessed more than many other people for whom it has never worked."

I tell every person that asks me about my pregnancy of how much we wanted this baby, how long we waited for this baby and how if it wasn't for ART and IVF in our case, we would never be pregnant. I am sure the What Ifs will always follow me through life. Even now that I am pregnant I am constantly worrying about Peanut and ask myself... What if something goes wrong? What if there is something wrong with Peanut? I hear from other women that this is yet another "privilege" reserved to us IF women. I suppose we have struggled so much to get to where we are that we are so scared someone is going to take it all away from us at any moment. Ultimately though I cannot help but being thankful that I am struggling with these latest What Ifs, because I am really aware that if we were living in another time we would not be experiencing what we are experiencing now and for that I will forever be grateful.

To know more about infertility please visit the following link www.resolve.org/infertility101 and this url giving the background of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)www.resolve.org/takecharge You can also found out more about the What If project here http://www.stirrup-queens.com/2010/04/bloggers-unite-project-if/

April 25, 2010

Will I ever feel "truly" pregnant?

Yesterday D and I went to Ikea to buy some bits and pieces for our new home. Here we are walking around looking at furniture and lampshades and all sort of things you can get at Ikea. As we walk around I see a lot of pregnant women. My thought reverted back to my pre-pregnancy one of "Why can't that be me?" Now considering I am 16 weeks pregnant today and showing the beginning of a what a friend calls a "basketball bump" I should not be thinking like this!
The thought occurred to me that I have still not allowed myself to believe I am REALLY pregnant. I am not just imagining it, I am not just hoping it or praying for it... the miracle has happened.. I am pregnant. I suppose spending the last 2 years focusing on getting here has shifted my focus elsewhere. What I am now wondering is if I will ever feel truly pregnant or will I just be as surprised as those women who don't know they are pregnant until they give birth on the toilet?!?!?LOL Don't get me wrong part of me, the part that is attached to Peanut and cannot imagine my life without him/her in it, knows I am pregnant. I know I am putting on weight and that my belly is getting rounder than it has ever been before, that my boobs are getting bigger by the day (I am loving both!!) that I am eating for two and I am so conscious of what is good and bad for the baby.... have not completely lost my mind... yet! I wonder if it's something every pregnant woman goes trough or this weird feeling is reserved for IF pregnant ladies. Any thoughts?
Part of this behaviour is also manifested itself in the fact that I have not bought anything for the baby apart from one onesie. Over the last two years I spent hours thinking about what I would buy and how I would go shopping crazy for the baby and I even bought two funny outfits about 2 years ago when I was still under the illusion we were going to get knocked up at any moment!Now I feel "scared" to buy anything in case I "jinx" things. At first I thought I would wait until the end of the first trimester and now I keep saying I will wait until we know what we are having. Will I start buying things when we know or will our poor Peanut be born with no clothes on his/her back and no where to sleep??!!
Like I have said today I am 16 weeks pregnant and Peanut is growing toenails this week and his/her circulatory system is pumping blood! This week is the week we finally go for another u/s. I think part of my anxiety comes from the fact that we have not been to see Peanut in the last 3 weeks whereas before we used to get a peak every week. I cannot wait to see that all is GREAT and HEALTHY with Peanut. We cannot wait to see how big of a difference three weeks has made in his/her development and we also wonder if we will be able to tell if Peanut is a boy or a girl! We cannot wait for the Wednesday and I am already on countdown mode!!!
I suppose deep down I am know I am pregnant but I need to make more or an active effort to remind myself that it's for real and not just a beautiful dream...

April 22, 2010

Belly shots..

I have enjoyed taking my weekly belly shots since I got my BFP. Even though I see it on myself it's also nice to be able to document how my body is changing week after week. I love how my belly is really starting to look like a proper baby bump now and how in the morning my old clothes fit and by night I want to rip them off! I have now started wearing maternity trousers so that I am comfy all day long ( I wear them with my trusted belly bands as they are still on the lose side!) So here is a snapshot of where I started from and where I am at right now... Enjoy! (PS I am sorry but I cannot format the pics in a normal sequence ... I am useless at technology!!!)
5 weeks
9 weeks and 1 day
11 weeks and 2 days
13 weeks and 1 day
14 weeks and 2 days

April 21, 2010

IComLeavWe April 2010.. my first!

This is the first month I join IComLeavWe (Great Idea by a GREAT person!!!) and as some of you might stumble upon my blog for the first time, I think it's easier to give you a "brief" introduction to my blog if you want the long one please go here... be aware it's long!!
I am 15 weeks pregnant and over the moon with this blessing. If people see me now they see an ordinary pregnant women. Of course they don't know that it took D and I 2 years and 2 IVF cycles to get to where we are now that we wanted this baby more than anything in the world and that we love this baby more than life itself. The most important thing is that we did get here in the end and for the last 15 weeks we have been walking around with the biggest smiles on our faces. We have been together since 2000 and this year on the 6th of October is our 10 year anniversary and then on the 10th we expect the BIG arrival. We wonder if it will happen on the same day as our anniversary.. or whether Peanut will chose his/her own day to be born.
So what stared off as a blog about IVF cycle number 2 has now turned into my pregnancy blog and the ups (there are no downs for me...yeah right!!) of pregnancy. I hope it provides hope to others who are still making their way in the land of IF.. I am sure I will never leave what has now become a really familiar world of supportive and super strong women and in a couple of years I hope and pray that in a couple of years I will be so lucky to be able to start this process again.

April 20, 2010

When too much choice is a bad thing..

I started looking at prams two years ago when we first started TTC. Of course over the last two years I did not allow myself to look properly as I could not get pregnant and it was too painful. Now that I am pregnant I have come to realise that it's a real challenge to find the right pram for your baby. The choice makes your head spin. I have been researching for the best pram for our Peanut for weeks now and I think I have found the one but there is part of me that is not 100% sure and now I am starting to wonder if the perfect pram really exists! It's not a matter of just finding the right pram. You can find the perfect pram then realise that the car seat you wanted does not go with your pram or you can find the car seat that is safe and secure but it does not fit on the pram that you really want. It's really hard work. Then of course you think you are getting there and have found the right pram and then you google reviews of the pram and read that it's not as great as you think it is.. and the search starts again!

The truth is that we don't want something crazy or over the top. What we want are the following:
  1. safe and secure car seat with Isofix base;

  2. a pram that is compatible with the car seat so that if the baby is asleep in the car seat we can attach the car seat to the pram without waking him/her;

  3. we want a pram/stroller that can be used from birth preferably without the use of a separate carrycot;

  4. easy to fold;

  5. wide enough so that baby is comfy as he grows.

Now tell me if I am asking too much? As I typed this I got distracted and conducted another search and I think I might have found THE one. It's not a fashionable-celebrity kind of pushchair, it more of an unknown safe brand. The name is Britax and it's a German brand and it's safety records is one of the best in the world for car seats. Our Peanut is going to be safe! They make stylish and practical pushchairs and amongst them it's the one I like the most. It's called B-Smart and it ticked all the boxes above. We can use it from birth as it reclines flat, it's light but stable, I can add the car seat to it, it's easy to fold, it has plenty of space for Peanut's things, the seat can either face us or to the outside, the tyres are anti puncture and on and on! We are also going to buy the car seat with its Isofix base from the same brand because as I have said they have one of the safest records when it comes to baby safety. The colour selection is not as large as other makes but that's not the main selling point for me. They have a lime green and a red which are cool.. or a classic black or denim. We shall see.

Now after all of this search you would think that all I am left to do is go to a store and try it. Well I wish I could do that but it seems that Britax is not easily available in the UAE. So I am back to searching mode trying to locate stores that sell it. Wish me and poor D luck!

April 14, 2010

Last night of progesterone... and other news

Tonight and tomorrow morning will be the last night/day of progesterone suppositories. Part of me is so super excited to be done with progesterone and all that messy stuff.. but the other part of me feels a tiny bit scared. If I allow the scared part to take control I end up with a lot of "what ifs". My RE told me that I didn't need it any longer last week at 12 weeks and that I could stop taking it but then she asked if I had any left and if I did to just finish that box. So here I am a week later with with two suppositories left to take. I feel like it's another part of the process that I can tick off the list. I am so thankful for progesterone because I believe that the high dosage I was on to begin with has helped in sustaining this pregnancy and I know when we do IVF number 3 for baby number 2 that is exactly what I would want to do. The rational part of my brain knows that the placenta, which is now well formed, will just take over and that it probably has already done so. It's the other part I am trying to keep at bay. I think, as long as I don't over think it, I will be ok.
Yesterday I master the guts to have a chat with my boss about my maternity leave. He is the most supportive boss so I knew it would not oppose and yet I felt extremely anxious about it. I told him my dates and he simply said "fine, no issues". I breathed a sight of relief!! I then went to speak to our Director of HR and she said the days are fine and that I am not asking for anything crazy so she is happy with it. Another sight of relief. Then today the head of HR spoke to our MD and he was a bit shocked at first but then asked me my due date and said congratulations which was nice. Now I am waiting for his say on my maternity leave entitlement.. I really hope it's another yes. I will keep praying for it and will let you know how it goes. In this Region maternity leave is not a straight forward matter. Employers give 45 calendar days to their employees and that is considered generous! So what I have asked for is my 45 calendar days and combined it with my yearly annual leave (30 working days) and to that I have added another 1 unpaid calendar month. So this works out to 3 and a half months. Keep your fingers crossed it all gets approved!!
In other news, D will be travelling to Macau for an extended weekend retreat with his company at the end of May. We considered me going along but it's too much hassle. It's an 9 hour flight each way plus ferry to get there and then he would be busy for one day and then we would have one day together and back home. It's too much for me. So he will be going solo. Then the week after is his brother's wedding in Belgium and again it's another 6.30 hours flight each way for a total stay of 4 days. Plus there is a lot of tension surrounding the wedding so I don't know it that will make things even worse for me. I will play it by ear and see how things work out as we proceed then decide at the last minute.

April 11, 2010

To a good break and to being 14 weeks!!!

This weekend D had his company retreat and he organised it so that I could go along too. I really needed a break from my normal routine and going to a 5 star hotel did the trick! The feeling of being somewhere completely different and not having to deal with every day crap made me so excited. I was literally jumping up and down because I was so excited!!! It was my first break since Christmas so it came at the right time. The hotel was ok. I work in the hotel industry so I know what I should and should not expect to find and this hotel was a bit of a let down but the infinity pool was amazing. Thursday night we went shopping for a swimsuit for me. After 10 years of fitting into the same swimsuits I no longer can. My boobs are too big and my bum is getting wider...haha. So I went and got this funky tankini from Billabong and I love it! The next day D had meetings up until 2.30 so I did some more shopping and found this adorable outfit for Peanut and I had to get it!! Daddy loved it too! I then hanged out at the pool and loved it. Peanut took his first swim and I could tell it was a success!! I felt so refreshed and light in the water and didn't want to come out. D joined us after his meetings which was lovely and we all hanged out in the pool for a while. Then D got ready and headed for a dinner and I just hang out in a mall next to the restaurant. I found 3 new maternity bras that are too tight around my waist so I need an bra extender for them. I am struggling with bras and just wish there was a place I could go to that would measure my correct bra size! Anyway bras aside I had a lovely weekend and now that I am back at work I wish I was still by that amazing pool taking in the sun and dipping in that water!

Peanut is growing.. I see my belly expanding week by week and I am just so in love! Today I am 14 week pregnant and Peanut is able to frown or smile, to suck his thumb and pee! All exciting changes. He is the size of a lemon which is pretty impressive! As Peanut grows my weight is adding on too. I started off at 57/58 kg and I am now 62, so far a total gain of 4 kg in 4 months. I have been obsessed over weight half my life and I am not about to start going back to this stupid mindset now. I think it'll be easier if from now on I don't know how much I gain. We don't have a scale at home so the only time I will find out will be at the doctor's office every 3 weeks or so and I can live with that. It's healthy weight and as long as the doctor thinks all is ok then that's all that counts. I know I eat healthy so if the weight is coming on it must be for a good reason! My hand allergy flared up again on Friday but now it seems under control. After getting some advice from BBC I bought some moisture gloves to wear at night. I shall try them tonight and see if they help.
I have created a collection of bump pics to show how I have changed so far but I am too sleepy yo add them now and my lunch break is over and I have to go back to work... if my brain allows me to!!!

April 7, 2010

13 weeks and 3 days and all is good again!

D is back and all is good in the world again. He arrived last night after a long trip with a delay but nonetheless glad to be home. I was so excited yesterday.. I felt like a teenager. I went to wash his car after work and then went shopping for food and finally home. I could not stay still and went to the airport way ahead of schedule just so that I could be there in case his flight arrived earlier. I love having him home and I told him he is not allowed to go away again. Typically his company has organized a retreat this weekend but we are working around it and if all works out I will be going along too. I cannot stand to have to let him go after having just getting him back! Hopefully it will all work out!

This morning we went for our end of our first trimester u/s and to make it special it was a normal u/s not an internal one! When she said let’s look how the baby is doing I got ready on the table with my button clothes off.. then she said it was going to be an external one! HAHA It does not matter of course but I thought it was funny. She pressed gently on my belly and felt the uterus and then held my hand to show me where it is and did the same to D so he could feel it too. It starts from about an inch under my belly button. You can feel soft skin and then all of a sudden hard. Then we were ready to look at our little Peanut and there he/she was. Moving about his arms and hands and feet and legs. It was incredible! The doctor did the NT scan again and as last time all looked great then she measured his head and he is measuring a week ahead of schedule. Then his body and all looks great, Peanut measure about 10 cm now and about a week ahead of schedule! She looked for the sex but it’s too early as all looks about the same so she said to wait. We don’t mind waiting as long as all looks great that’s all that matters. We are going back in 3 weeks. I don’t know how I will survive that long without seeing Peanut but as I saw that everything looked great now I will hopefully manage another 3 weeks. She also mentioned that she will send us to a doctor in a neighboring city who does 3 and 4 d ultrasounds at around 20 weeks for the morphology ultrasound. We love the sound of seeing our baby in 3d!! Should be incredible! I also got the news I have been waiting for, after I finish the new box of progesterone I bought this week I get to stop it completely and as of today I can stop doing the weekly injections.

I then went to register Peanut at the first nursery I went to see. It’s good to have a back up place just in case the other one does not come through. I am asking a friend to help as he knows the owner of this one nursery. D said it is so funny how we are already fussy about which nursery to send the baby too.. how are we going to be like for schools!!! Love it!!

April 5, 2010

Freaking out!!!!

Last night I go home and during the evening I am sitting there with my legs up watching movies and as usual I put my hands on my belly to feel Peanut making those amazing little bubbles. Last night there was nothing. No bubbles no sudden movement nothing at all. I waited and waited and the more I waited the more freaked out I got. I texted D and told him what was going on and he said that Peanut is probably resting not to panic. I just don't get it. Why have the bubbles stop? What is going on in there? Is our baby ok? I woke up this morning at 4.20 for my usual morning pee and then I could not go back to sleep. I kept thinking about what could be happening for Peanut to stop moving about. All kind of bad thoughts racing through my mind. I then got hungry so had a snack and after that I was able to close my eyes and go back to sleep. I haven't had any cramps or spotting or anything of that kind but I am nonetheless freaked out that something could be wrong. D is back tomorrow, thank God for that. He is my sanity and without him I am one big wreck I don't think I will let him go away ever again. Then Wednesday we have the ultra sound so hopefully, please God let it all be fine, we will see that all is ok. In the meantime I rub my belly and hold it for a sign that all is ok. It's the first time since getting pregnant that I feel this worried... I thought the 2nd trimester was supposed to be smooth sailing.

April 4, 2010

What a great day to enter into the 2nd Trimester!!!

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you are having a happy one with your loved ones and of course that you are eating huge amounts of chocolate!! Today marks the day I enter the second trimester and I am just so so happy we are here! It’s an important milestone in pregnancy terms and I know feel a more “safe” that, God willing, all should be smooth sailing from now on. I feel so blessed to have had such a easy going pregnancy so far and I thank my body for reacting so well to being pregnant. I was expecting morning sickness galore and feeling horrible but instead I have been blessed with mild afternoon nausea and tiredness. I am one lucky mama. My baby is just the best baby in the world and I feel such a strong connection between us. If I put my hands on my left side of the belly I feel small bubbles moving around and when D puts his head there he says he feels little pushes and whooshing sounds. These noises and bubbles are only on the left side where the baby is so we know it must be him moving around in there! It has it’s time to move around and this is normally around 8.30 pm... he had his routines just like his mommy! I am so proud of our little miracle for proving everyone wrong and growing stronger each day. I am so in love with our baby and he is not even born yet.

This weekend was bittersweet as D went to Greece to visit his family for Easter and I was left behind. I cannot travel as my doctor advised against it so I took him to the airport on Friday morning and kissed him goodbye. The first night alone in the big house was scary. I woke up at 3 am and wondered around the house checking doors and windows. I have always HATED being home alone and now especially with a baby to defend I felt like a bull dog!! Looking out for possible troubles. I finally managed to fell asleep and woke up at 9.30 feeling ok. Yesterday I had a good friend over to the house so the day was filled up and lovely, then I made fish for me and Peanut and also had a 10 pm craving for pasta which was fulfilled by left over pasta!! I went to bed after watching super happy movies and slept like a big baby!! I am missing D like CRAZY.. I hate it when we are apart even for a day so for him to be gone for 5 days seems like a month to me. I cannot wait till he gets back on Tuesday night and Peanut and I get to pick him up at the airport. He needed to see his family and his grandma in particular. She is such a sweet lady and very wise. They are having a wonderful Easter lunch as we speak and I so wish I could be there too!

Today it’s a working day for me but I was determined to bring Easter in with me. I got eggs to distribute to colleagues and I was everyone’s fav person in the office!! I also went to check out the first of two nurseries we are interested in. This is not our first choice but then again they have places available so we had to check it out. I was introduced to a whole new world, the world of nurseries and nursery talk. I have to admit that my first impression was not WOW this is where I would feel comfy leaving my baby then again I am sure most parents feel the same. No place is good enough for our little ones. They showed me around and told me the rules of the nursery etc at the end they gave me a booklet with their fees and other information. I left holding on tight to my belly and thinking.. how will I ever be able to leave my baby. I know it’s going to be tough and I will cry every day and rejoice every night we get him back! I am still holding out that we get a place at this other nursery but then again we have not seen this other nursery and I could feel the same... We have until Wed at 4 pm to register Peanut and in case we decide we like the other better we lose the deposit but at least our baby will have a place to go to. A lot to think about with D when he gets back!