Is there anything better than a prenatal ultrasound, really?? Seeing the baby and just having that visual affirmation that all is good... it just can’t be beat.
Last week I got to have my first ultrasound, and it was wonderful. The fertility clinic had the Intended Fathers (IF’s) dialed up on an iPad for me, so they got to be part of the ultrasound too. I was 7 weeks, 1 day, at the time of the ultrasound, and baby was looking perfect. Measuring just a smidge big at 7 weeks, 3 days (I told you I grow them big) and a nice steady heartbeat of 155 beats per minute.
There was a small shadow of a subchorionic hemorrhage, which means I could potentially experience some bleeding. The good news is the location of the SCH was far from the baby, so the doctor wasn’t worried about it at all. I’ve learned that SCH’s are actually pretty common with IVF pregnancies.
The doctor started by taking measurements, reassuring us that everything was perfect, and then announced, “And here we can see the heartbeat,” as he clicked a few times to zoom in on the image. Suddenly we could see the heartbeat, and the whole room filled with the rapid whooshing sound of baby’s heart beating away at 155 beats per minute. Baby is the size of a blueberry, and yet that little tiny heart was hard at work already. Amazing.
When he announced that we would see the heartbeat, my eyes quickly left the ultrasound image and went to the iPad (which was being held by my clinic coordinator and was directed at the monitor) and I had a perfect view of the guys. Their reaction to seeing their baby’s heartbeat for the first time was my favorite moment of this journey so far, hands down. They absolutely lit up. Their joy was radiating through the screen and it brought tears to my eyes and right down my cheeks. So while they couldn’t tear their eyes off of their baby, I couldn’t tear my eyes off of them, and THAT is how this pregnancy is different.
I’ve had many people ask me how I’m going to do it, and tell me they could never do it. “But how will you give the baby up at the end? I would get so attached!” I’ve heard it countless times. But here’s the thing. It’s not my baby to keep, so mentally the attachment is just very different. I will love and nourish their baby while it needs me, and I know that our families will enjoy a lifelong friendship, but I won’t spend this pregnancy envisioning bringing this baby home and living our lives with this new addition. The reason I’m doing this isn’t to have another baby join our family in the end. I’m doing this for my IF’s so that THEY will see their family grow. For their sweet boys, so that THEY will have the joy of a brother or sister. The ultimate moment for me will be when their baby is born and is placed in THEIR arms, where it belongs. I got a taste of that seeing their faces at the ultrasound. To bring that kind of joy to another family... it’s an incredible opportunity and truly such an honor.
Aside from the happiness of the ultrasound, it hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine around here. Pregnancy symptoms are kicking in hard and fast, and if you know much about pregnancy symptoms you know the early ones are not a ton of fun. For the last couple of weeks I have been feeling...
☀️ Nauseous - randomly all day and night
🌈 So tired
☀️ Emotional. I cry at commercials, songs, and children’s books. And anything else.
🌈 Did I mention I’m tired? Flat exhausted, really.
☀️ Thirsty! I’m struggling to find drinks that sit well in my stomach - water is a definite NO - and so far the only thing I know I can drink without immediate sickness is Coke. Not ideal for a growing baby! So I’ve been trying to hydrate with fruit (lots of watermelon) and popsicles.
🌈 Ugh the nausea. I mentioned it before but it’s so persistent it’s worth mentioning again, I think. I find that I usually feel better when I eat, so I’m trying to eat frequently. Between the frequent eating and the previously mentioned Coke, this pregnancy weight gain is sure to hit new levels even for me. But when you feel sick, that’s about the last thing you’re worried about! Anything to find a little relief.
☀️ Sensitive to smells, which works in conjunction with the nausea
This weekend was spent watching basketball (one game for Finnegan, four for Arabella) and I was doing pretty good at Arabella's first game yesterday morning. Then two particularly fragrant women came and sat in the bleachers near me, and it was all downhill from there. They kept getting up and walking past me, so I kept getting whiffs of them, and I just felt sick the rest of the time. It’s not fun being so sensitive like that!
Despite feeling icky, I do love watching this girl play basketball. Sometimes she's like me, a little self-conscious and reserved, but more and more when she's on the basketball court I'm seeing the confidence and aggressiveness of her dad shining through. She definitely got his athletic abilities!
After two wins in Salem yesterday, we headed out for a late lunch and got home to a beautiful sunset. Last year we lived on a marionberry farm with expansive sunset views (I miss those views) but even in our new neighborhood we get to experience the beauty of an Oregon sunset.
Our second ultrasound will be next week, and I'm really hoping that along with it comes news of getting off all of the meds. After the last ultrasound I was able to reduce the amount of meds in each injection by a little bit, but still have the same med protocol including daily shots and multiple pills each day. It will be such a treat to be done with them!
In the meantime, I will be busy wrapping presents in my rare kid-free moments, preparing to make it an extra special Christmas even though we aren't going to be with family, and as always I really try to make Arabella's birthday extra special too. With a December 23rd birthday, I never want her to feel like her birthday is absorbed into Christmas! Here's to hoping I can feel good and summon up some energy to accomplish it all over the next week!
Happy Holidays to all of you; Wishing you a season overflowing with warmth and joy, sunshine and rainbows.