The Unexamined Pregnancy – Part 2

That was easy!

That was easy!

I hadn’t meant to make this a two part post, but after the last post got too wordy, I figured it was time to shut it down and start over again (after all, I have 9 months of pregnancy to catch up on). Some random musings are below.

Differences this Time Around

Once the initial disbelief that I was pregnant again subsided, I was able to very quickly get comfortable with the idea that this pregnancy would again result in a take home baby. While I was  pregnant with Gus, I believed that I did a good job enjoying my pregnancy, without letting the past trauma of infertility and pregnancy loss affect me too much. However, it was only with this pregnancy that I realized how far I still had to go emotionally and mentally last time around.

Despite being fortunate to have straightforward pregnancies both times, I did have a fair bit of anxiety while pregnant with Gus. I was very conscious of how hard we’d worked to become pregnant, and hyper aware of all of the things that could go wrong. I was grateful for every milestone that passed – I still remember counting down to the magical 24 week mark, at which point if you delivered, your baby would have a fighting chance of surviving. I also remember how I felt in the days leading up to our anatomy scan – the excitement of getting a detailed look at our baby overshadowed by the fear that the scan would reveal that something was horribly wrong. I even remember sitting in his nursery in the few weeks leading up to my due date, and feeling sudden terror that it was not too late yet for something to go wrong, and that if it did, it would be the end of me.

This time around was a world of difference. By the middle of the first trimester, I just knew that things would work out. While the pregnancy with Gus felt like it lasted forever, this pregnancy has flown by. Every time I checked in with how far along I was, it seemed like a few weeks had passed since I last thought about it. While I generally saw this as a positive development, and a sign of healing, part of me also wanted to slow things down so I could savour and appreciate every moment. While the anxiety I’d felt with Gus was not present, I did worry from time to time that I was taking this pregnancy for granted, and letting it fly by too quickly.

The Gender Reveal

As I alluded to above, physically this pregnancy has been very similar to the last one, down to the fact that I am carrying another boy.

Like many couples, we were excited by the possibility of having a boy and a girl. We had the perfect girl name picked out (first and middle), which we’d come up with while pregnant last time, while we were drawing a blank on boy names. Early on in the pregnancy, I found myself peeking at the adorable baby girl clothes when shopping for clothes for Gus. I fantasized about what my daughter would look like. And yet, the second I found that out we were going to have another boy, the desire for a girl melted away.

Instead, I realized I could stop sorting Gus’ old clothes into “boy” and “gender neutral” boxes, and stop the practice of the last few months of buying new clothes for him that were more gender neutral, in case they were to be passed down to a girl down the road. I appreciated that I could relax a bit with the toy budget for Gus (both in terms of money spent, and space available to store everything) now that there were two boys who would be enjoying everything, instead of needing to budget for future purchases of equivalent girl toys. I was suddenly grateful that I would not have to figure out what my stance was on “princess culture” and how much I wanted to limit its impact on my daughter (and that down the road I would not have to deal with the stress of her dressing too sexy at too young an age).

Aside from the more immediate benefits of having two boys, I felt an excitement about down the road being the mother of two strong, capable men.

Recently a friend asked me if we would try for a third baby to “try for a girl”. I have enough issues with people asking about your plans for future children shortly after (or in this case even before) the current child is born, not to mention a distaste for any mention of “timing” pregnancy or trying for a certain sex. Despite my usual inability to think of the right answer to these types of questions until the moment had passed, in this case I was able to answer without skipping a beat that at this point we were not planning to have more children, but if we did decide to try for a third, the motivation would be to have a third child, and not to try for a girl.

And I actually meant it! I’ve so bought into my role as “mother of boys” that if we did end up having a third, there is a big part of me that would be expecting, and hoping for a third boy.

I’m working on another pregnancy related post, so stay tuned!

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The Unexamined Pregnancy – Part 1

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I will probably be shutting down this blog soon, mostly due to the fact that I never seem to get around to  writing here (some combination of time and motivation). I’m also not sure (notwithstanding the above photograph) how comfortable I am with posting pictures of my child(ren!) on the internet  where anyone can access them and do with them as they please. I have considered password protecting posts, watermarking the photos, and other measures, but given that there are about, oh maybe 3 other people who even bother reading this blog other than me, nobody would even miss it, so simply taking it down, or making it completely private may make more sense.

In any case, if I do take it down, I have wanted to write a few final posts to wrap up, as there is nothing more annoying than an abandoned blog, especially given the somewhat cliffhangerish tone of my last post.

When I last wrote, I was in the two week wait of our first embryo transfer for baby #2. I was six days post five day transfer and planning to do a pregnancy test the following morning – at 7 days post transfer, or approximately equivalent to 12 days post ovulation.

This was the same schedule I followed after my transfer with Gus, except that with Gus, my motivation was different. Last time, I just KNEW that I was pregnant. While I am not someone who gets much (if any) pregnancy symptoms early on, there were a few subtle things that convinced me I had an embie (or embies) snuggling in. At four days post transfer, right on cue based on an IVF timeline I read, I was sure that I felt something implanting. It was a feeling like I’d never felt before….the best way I can describe it is that it felt like something was gently tickling me from the inside. I remember wondering if I was imagining it, and touching my stomach in the place where the tickle was, and each time my touch made it feel a bit more intense. This happened on a Friday, and over the course of that weekend, I became more and more convinced that I must be pregnant.

By Sunday evening, I decided that I was going to test on Monday morning, so that I could (most likely) start celebrating the pregnancy, or if for some reason I was wrong, bring my expectations back down to earth. Sunday night before going to bed, I had another strong sign that I was pregnant – I had some spotting, which I just knew was implantation bleeding.

Fast forward one hundred and four weeks, and I felt the complete opposite. Based on my past pregnancies, I knew enough not to expect any of the “typical” early symptoms such as nausea, heightened sense of small, painful breasts, or fatigue. But at four days post transfer, I tuned in to my body very carefully, being mindful so as to catch the slightest twitch, cramp, or tickle. And I felt…nothing. I continued being vigilant over the weekend, but there was still nothing.

By Sunday night, in addition to the usual lack of symptoms, there had been no twitches, and no spotting (no matter how hard I wiped). I was sure that the cycle had failed in a way that I had never been more sure of something. In my mind, I was already planning the timing for the next cycle and starting to mentally move on.

As it was our first assisted try for baby #2, (after only 2 months of “trying” on our own without any pressure/expectation that natural conception would happen), I felt like the failure was not only unexpected, but also that it would not be that difficult to process. After all, I had not really “earned” the right to be successful yet. The road to baby #2 needed to be longer and more difficult than this, and I could deal with it. We still had four embryos in the freezer, and would be transferring at least the next two one at a time, so I felt like we were far from panic mode.

This time around, the decision to test Monday morning was made so that we could officially close the door on this cycle and look ahead to the future (while continuing to be grateful for and cherish the child we did have). So, as I did 104 weeks ago, I went to the bathroom as soon as I woke up, pulled out my favourite brand of pregnancy test, which I’d purchased the night before, and peed.

I watched the light pink colour spread across the window, and the control line come into focus. As the pink continued to spread, I was shocked to see what looked like the faintest of faint second lines. I remember my husband coming into the bathroom with a concerned look on his face as I sat there staring at the test (I’d warned him that I was expecting a negative test). “What do you think? Do you see it?” I remember asking him. He nodded. “There’s definitely something there.”

Even seeing that second line was not enough to convince me I was pregnant. The line was very faint, and that first day I was convinced it signalled that a chemical pregnancy was coming. I had been through a chemical pregnancy before, so I knew what to expect. My husband and I were not yet ready to be cautiously optimistic – instead we agreed that “something” was happening, but it was too early to know what it would turn into.

Every morning that week, I tested again, and every morning the line got darker. The implantation bleeding I’d been looking for also arrived, though a day or two later than last time. My blood test was Friday, and by then I was getting comfortable that my beta results would be quite good, given that it looked like they had been rising since at least Monday. Sure enough, the bloodwork confirmed that I was definitely pregnant, with a very respectable beta result.

I still couldn’t quite believe it though – the pregnancy still felt precarious to me. My second bloodtest also came back with a strong result, with the appropriate doubling time. While the first bloodtest for this pregnancy was a day earlier than my test for Gus, in both cases, the second tests were 15 days post transfer. I was curious how they compared, and was shocked when I saw that my results were actually higher this time around than with Gus. It was only then that it really sunk in for me that I was pregnant again.