Real Talk: Pregnancy Nausea

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Let’s talk pregnancy nausea. I don’t mean “morning sickness”, or the occasional upset tummy or gagging. I mean full blown, all-day/all-night PREGNANCY NAUSEA. With puking.

When I was pregnant with the twins, I had the all-day queasies the entire first trimester, a bit early in the second, and here and there in the third. But I expected that. I was pregnant with twins, my HCG levels were high, as were all of my other hormones. I was prepared for “double symptoms”. And after months and months of fertility drugs, I handled those symptoms like a boss.

But this second time around seems so much worse. The nausea is more intense, my super pregnancy smell is more intense (I can’t even open the fridge without gagging), the food aversions are more intense, and the barfing is more intense. Since week six I have thrown up almost every single day, usually multiple times. To the ladies out there with HG – God bless you, I don’t know how you do it. Chasing two toddlers around also doesn’t help. Nor does changing their poopy diapers. The nausea is with me, ALWAYS.

Also, husbands don’t really get it. It seriously is debilitating!! I try to explain it to Nick like this: Imagine having a hangover that lasts for weeks, but not getting to enjoy the fun part that gives you the hangover. I think that resonates a bit more. Thankfully he has really stepped up and been taking on a lot of the tasks that I just can’t bring myself to do – like making the girls’ meals. Thanks for being a trooper, babe.

Now that you know how great I have felt the past 9 weeks, let’s talk about the lovely PLACES I have gotten sick. This is a running joke with other ladies on my mom boards – might as well make light of it all.

**Warning** TMI ALERT

Since the nausea is my bestie, and does not discriminate, I have had some not-so-pleasant encounters with it. Here are some of the fun places I’ve puked this pregnancy:

  • My driveway
  • My kitchen sink (multiple times)
  • IN MY CAR. It got on the windshield and steering wheel. I had to clean it up with YOGA PANTS. Which I then threw directly into the trash at work.
  • Speaking of work….in a trash can at work. In my office and in a hallway. I like to think the college kids thought I was hungover….
  • ON MY CAR. Rolled the window down and let it out. Then it froze to the side of my door. Lovely.
  • Target bathroom
  • Every bathroom in my house

Nothing is off limits. I just count my blessings that on most occasions, no one saw me.

So, now you are probably thinking to yourself, “girl, take some meds!” Trust me when I say, I have tried it all (if I haven’t please send recommendations. SOS.). While nothing seems to be helping me that much, the least I can do is share some of the remedies I have tried. Below are some of the pregnancy nausea tips and tricks that might just help YOU kick that nausea to the curb.

  1. Ginger – Ginger teach, ginger drops, ginger ale. Ginger root is well known for its anti-nausea properties.                                                                 IMG_3897
  2. Tea with honey/lemon
  3. Saltine crackers – If you eat these first thing in the morning, before you even sit up, it does tend to take the edge up. I just can never remember!
  4. Sea Bands – These helped me a bit during my first pregnancy. I borrowed from a friend. I never tried them this time around…perhaps that is where I am striking out?                                                                     seabands
  5. Mint
  6. Vitamin B6
  7. Tums
  8. Preggy Pops Drops – These were a lifesaver for a few weeks. Then I got sick of the taste.                                                            preggypops
  9. Carbs on carbs on carbs – seems to be the only thing I can keep down lately! French fries, mashed potatoes, waffles, pretzels. At least I’m eating…right? Also, check out this new study on carbs + healthy baby!
  10. Keep hydrated – Even though water tastes funky these days, I still try to get upwards of 90 oz a day.
  11. Snacking throughout the day – I will say, if I let baby get hungry, the nausea comes at me full force. So I try to have a small snack every couple of hours.
  12. Prescription medication – My OB prescribed me both Diclegis and Phenergan for my nausea this pregnancy. Both make me SUPER sleepy, but did help out for a couple weeks. So never hesitate to ask your doctor for some help, I know some women who swear by these meds!

 

I seek comfort in the fact that so many say “morning sickness means a healthy baby”. So I am definitely holding on to that, and trying to take it one day at a time. With the twins I felt better around 13-15 weeks. So I have high hopes for the second trimester! Until then……

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A Festivus Miracle!

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We are pregnant. Naturally. Even writing it down I still can’t believe it. Even after multiple pregnancy tests, blood draws, and ultrasounds; I still find myself doubting that it is true. I just never thought a natural pregnancy (or even another pregnancy at that matter) was in the cards for us. But here, as I live and breathe and type, I am pregnant.

When we first visited our fertility doctor, we were given about a one percent chance of conceiving naturally. It may have even been less, I don’t fully recall. All I know is that that one tiny percent…I threw it out the window. I cast it away as a never. A not possible. And we dove straight into fertility treatments. And as you all know, they worked. Not right away, but those treatments, all of that money spent, all the tears all the heartache, they brought us our sweet, beautiful miracle baby girls. All my dreams had come true. And it was enough.

However, growing up I had always imagined having three kids. I grew up in a family with three children, and it just seemed like the perfect amount. So when the girls turned one, Nick and I had a discussion and agreed to try for one more baby. We were going to TRY to expand our family. We knew it was a long shot, and I promised that if in the end, we were still a family of four, that I would be OK. Because they were ENOUGH.

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But I knew a part of me would always wonder, “what if”, if we never tried. I figured we would try naturally for about a year, and then try some fertility treatments. But IVF wasn’t really an option, at least not for the foreseeable future. After all, we spent a LOT of money the first time around, and had just bought a new house and a new car. We didn’t have $12-15k+ to spend on IVF again. And that would be assuming it worked the first time around. So, while I was very excited to try, I had VERY low expectations.

I had my first post-partum period exactly 29 days after I stopped nursing the girls on their first birthday. For me, that was amazing! My cycles had always been 34+ days, so 29 days was astonishing. We “tried” between my stopping nursing and that first cycle, I was REALLY hoping that if we could catch that first egg it would be perfect. No such luck there.

The first cycle after 22 months without a period is NO JOKE. Holy cramps, holy murder scene, holy hormones. It was a rager (I know, TMI, but pretty much everything about TTC is TMI, right?). I stocked up on OPKs, pregnancy tests and began to track my cycle again. Except, I couldn’t temp accurately because I was up at least once a night due to the twins’ sleep regression. So I put all my TTC eggs in the OPK basket. It looked like I ovulated around day 23. Pretty typical for me.

Once I reached day 40 with no period, I allowed myself to get kind of excited. I was “late”. Maybe this was it?? When trying for the girls, I was almost never late. Maybe one day once or twice. But there I sat, staring at my stark white pregnancy test. And all of the emotions and heartache and disappointment came flooding back. It was like they never left. And If I’m being completely honest, I don’t think they ever did. Once infertile, always infertile. It is a time in your life that you never quite get past.

So, because I am always one who needs to try something “new” each cycle. I did a bit of research on some vitamins I could add to my diet, and came across Vitex (more on this in a future post). From what I had read, it could help to shorten and regulate women with long, irregular cycles. Sounded perfect for me. Reviews said it would take about 3 months to make any real difference, but with a small price tag what did I have to lose?

It was that cycle, that I got pregnant. The SECOND real cycle postpartum. I bet you are as shocked as I was! I ovulated 3-4 days earlier than usual, and took a pregnancy test the day before Christmas eve. At that point, I was a couple days “late” but didn’t think anything of it. I took the test because I knew I would be drinking wine and mimosas galore over the Christmas holiday.

Nick ran out to pick up breakfast for me and the girls, and while he was gone I mustered up the courage to take a test. I watched the control line change to pink but the rest of the test remained white. I cursed, I cried, and asked God why he was getting my hopes up (like it was His fault?). I washed my hands and came back to the test to throw it away, and that is when I saw it. A second, pink line. HOLY CRAP. Was I imagining things? Was this really happening to me? No way!! But there it was, as real as could be. I dug through my bathroom cupboards and found an old digital pregnancy test that was expired, but I took it any way. And that was positive too!!

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I quickly thought of a way to surprise Nick before he got home. The twins’ Advent calendar! It was a Santa Claus that hangs on the wall, with a little velvet sack filled with magnetic cotton balls. Each morning they would take turns pulling out a beard ball and sticking it on Santa’s beard. I stuck the test in the bag, and when Nick returned home I told Nick we had to do the Advent calendar before we forgot. Rosie (or was it Leni, haha) pulled the test out and handed it to a confused Nick. It took a minute before he realized what it was (that’s why I took a digital, because two lines on a pee stick would have meant nothing to him) but when he did, boy was he shocked! And excited. And terrified.

We spent the next couple of days surprising our family. This was how I had always imagined pregnancy would be. Surprising family members. Not waiting for scheduled beta tests, when everyone already knew the date we would “find out”. It was so exciting.

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Fast forward to today and our announcement. It has not been any easy several weeks, but so far, the pregnancy is progressing perfectly, and the baby is healthy. Which is all we could hope for.

I still question why we are so blessed, when there are so many others out there still trying to have their first child. We are good people, but by no means are we saints. Do we really deserve this miracle? Are we worthy? I am excited, but so saddened and heartbroken for others.

We promise to never take our children, natural or IVF, for granted. And we vow to be the best parents possible, and to love them unconditionally. For we are blessed beyond measure, and for that we will be forever grateful. From 1% chance to 100% miracle.

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Baby C #3 is due August 26, 2018.

More to come.

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The first trimester in a nut shell (egg shell?)

Weeks 1-2

These are the weeks leading up to ovulation. Most women spend this time taking ovulation tests and having lots and lots of baby-making sex. For us IVFers, it’s a little less hot and heavy. This period is usually filled with stimulation drugs (if having a fresh transfer) or other drugs like Lupron, Lovenox, etc., if having a frozen transfer. Several ultrasounds to confirm your ovaries and womb are ready, and anticipation for Transfer Day! We had our transfer on CD 19, and that was the day I received the bad news about our remaining embryos. I spent the remainder of Week 2 resting and feeling sorry for myself.

Week 3

This is the week we slowly start symptom watching. And eating pineapple core and Brazil nuts. Implantation usually happens during this week, so if you are like me, you were wearing light colored underwear and hoping to catch some “implantation bleeding”. I had none of that, and thus, convinced myself I was out. Toward the end of week three, you start questioning if everything is a symptom. You forgot to turn off the bedroom light – must be pregnancy brain. You peed an extra time between 3pm and 6pm, you’re pregnant. Extra gassy? Pregnant! Headache? Pregnant! The sun is shining? PREGNANT! It is pure torture.

Week 4

Pregnancy test week! We received our positive and I was ecstatic. I had virtually no symptoms. Are they sure they got it right? Is this real? Where were my sore boobs, nausea, and all of that other fun pregnancy stuff? This is the week you will tell your partner, call to make your first OB appointment, and probably pee on any pregnancy test you can get your hands on.

Week 5

I call this opposite week. All of those things you convinced yourself WERE symptoms about a week ago, now you are convincing yourself they are not. I was sure it was way too early to be feeling as exhausted as I was, or as hungry as I was. I was obviously making it all up in my head. So I kept peeing on sticks for reassurance. I even convinced myself I had the flu this week because it was way too early for nausea, body aches, and food aversions!

Week 6

Ultrasound week! One of the few perks of being an infertility clinic patient – the early and frequent ultrasounds. We got to see our (surprise!) two beautiful babies this week. Leading up to this ultrasound I was a nervous wreck, afterward I was excited, nervous, and so many other emotions. But the pregnancy felt a bit more real. They were REALLY in there. And that’s when the nausea really kicked in….

Week 7

The nausea was picking up, but every time I looked at the ultrasound on the fridge, I welcomed it. To me, it meant my little beans were growing. My appetite had increased, but the thought of most foods made me want to vomit. I had some mild spotting this week that freaked me out. It was brown, and only in the morning, but scary nonetheless. The nurses told me it was pretty normal, to take it easy and to push the fluids. As long as it stayed brown and wasn’t heavy or accompanied by cramps, everything should be fine. But still, it was scary.

Week 8

Vomiting. Food aversions. Nausea. The Three Musketeers. They were with me all day, every day. I managed to keep food down, thankfully. But I felt pretty miserable. To top it all off, the night I was 8 weeks 4 days pregnant, I woke up at 1am to pee and found dark red blood when I wiped. I immediately thought the worst. It wasn’t brown anymore. I woke Nick up and we went straight to the emergency room. I was seen by a doctor who gave me a pelvic and cervical exam, and found no blood. He also gave me an abdominal ultrasound. He told me not to get my hopes up about hearing the heartbeats on this type of machine, since it was so early. We were able to see both babies, and heard one heartbeat for sure. I was discharged feeling much better and was able to get in for an ultrasound with my specialist the next day. We confirmed that Baby A and Baby B were both doing well. My doctor told me to discontinue my Lovenox injections and baby aspirin and from that moment on, I have not had any more spotting (knock on wood).

Weeks 9-11

My hermit stage. I did not want to leave the house. I was living on plain waffles, pretzels and noodles. Most nights I fell asleep by 8:30 and it was all I could do to get myself out of bed in the morning and to work. My pants started to feel tighter but no bump in sight. I began wearing belly bands and the moment I got home from work it was straight into pajamas and to the couch. The nausea continued full force. I don’t know why they call it morning sickness when it lasts all day. Stupid name. I was vomiting a couple days a week. Week 10 I even threw up in my car WHILE driving in a construction zone on the highway. Thank God I had a plastic grocery bag and was only a couple miles from home. That was the day I hit symptom rock bottom. So gross.

This week I also saw the high risk doctors at Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) for the first time. They told me everything looked good so far, and the doctor discussed with me all of the possible complications that could arise in a mo/di (monochorionic, diamniotic) pregnancy like mine. Preeclampsia, anemia, preterm labor, TTTS, gestational diabetes, etc. Talk about a freak out. But they assured me they would do everything in their power to make things go smoothly, and I would be monitored often. I set up my next appointment for week 16. This would be the first of many TTTS monitoring appointments. From that appointment forward I would have ultrasounds every other week to monitor growth, fluid, placenta, and other signs of TTTS.

Week 12

For those of you who are unaware, week 12 is a milestone week. By now the placenta has taken over and symptoms should begin to subside. It is at this week that risk of miscarriage drops considerably. I was given the all clear from my specialist to discontinue my progesterone injections and estrogen pills and patches. I was also released from the RE and turned over to my OB. Nick and I announced our pregnancy on social media this week and the response was amazing. We were so overwhelmed by all of the love and support we received. Our family, friends and community are truly amazing.

 

Week 13

The last week of the first trimester!! Hallelujah! This week my nausea improved drastically. I was able to reintroduce some healthy food into my diet. And I actually had a little bit more energy. I saw my OB for the first time this week and babies looked good. I wouldn’t have another ultrasound for 3 weeks though, and this really freaked me out. But for now, we had two healthy babies on the way and couldn’t be happier!

Are you sure there aren’t two?

The moment I asked the ultrasound tech that question has lingered in my mind for the past several weeks, “Are you sure there aren’t two?”

Two weeks after our second beta, which sky-rocketed up from 697 to 2003, we had our first ultrasound. Let me tell you, the days leading up to the appointment were some of the longest of my life. I didn’t quite FEEL pregnant yet, and I certainly didn’t look pregnant, so how could I really BE pregnant? Maybe the tests were wrong, or my third beta wouldn’t have doubled? Shouldn’t they be doing betas every other day until that first appointment??

Week 4-5 was a piece of cake in the symptoms department. I felt normal, no sore boobs, no nausea, just a little extra tired. Shouldn’t I be feeling something by now? By the end of week 5, I felt like I had been hit by a bus. I was exhausted, nauseated, my legs were sore and I had a headache. But that couldn’t be the pregnancy, right? I was sure that I had caught something from a coworker who had been out of the office for most of the week. Dang him for bringing me his sickness! I felt much better after a few days.

We went in for our first ultrasound when I was 6 weeks and 4 days along. Nick took a half day off from work so that he could come with me. I picked him up from our house and we rode together to the doctor’s office. On the way, we heard a commercial about a woman hearing two heartbeats at her ultrasound and she found out she was having twins. Nick looked at me and said something along the lines of “that could be us, maybe it’s a sign”. I laughed it off and said, yea right! We only transferred one embryo, it was a miracle in itself that that had stuck!

To say I was nervous and anxious in the waiting room would be an understatement. I knew how early it was, and how quickly things could go south in a pregnancy. I said numerous prayers, just hoping that my little nugget was OK and that we would see all the things we needed to (according to Dr. Google, a yolk sack and something about a fetal pole were vital). They called me back, drew my blood, and then it was go time.

My doctor was out of the office that week so I was seeing one of the ultrasound techs. As soon as she stuck in that magic want I immediately saw two little white blobs. But then she started moving it around and they were gone just as fast. The first thing she said was “there it is”, and I finally let my breath out (I think I had been holding it since the blood draw). She took its measurements, and showed us the little flicker of the heartbeat. I was grinning from ear to ear. They warned me that we might not be able to hear the heartbeat this early, but we could try. I held my breath again and all of a sudden heard the most beautiful sound, the thump-thump-thump of my baby’s heart. Queue the tears.

After that, I’m not sure what came over me, but that is when I blurted out the “are you sure there aren’t two in there?” She said, “Well hold on let me check, I am going to do a scan of the uterus.” I watched the screen change and then she stopped on another blob and said “Yep, there’s another.” Well HOLY CRAP. TWINS!!! Disbelief, shock, joy, fear, excitement – I felt all of these emotions in that single moment. We were able to hear the heartbeat of baby 2 as well!

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It looks like we are having identical twins. This automatically makes my case high risk, and with identical twins there is a risk of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), where basically one twin would take over the majority of the nutrients and doesn’t get enough (more about that in the future), but that is a risk we are willing to deal with should it arise. All we knew is that in our time of need, and pain, and doubt, God had blessed us with two beautiful heartbeats.

We made one wish, and two came true.