My 1st Pregnancy: 1 year ago today

Thursday, December 8, 2016

What a year it has been, I've had my most joyous moments, and also have experience the most grueling moments of my life.
                                    

1 year ago today, we transferred 1embryo. I knew that this baby would be in my arms in 9 months. I didn't even doubt it. We did an egg retrieval on October 23rd, and this was one of those frosties ( as I like to call them). I had eaten a clean diet that was dairy and wheat free for 6 weeks. Had hardly any alcohol for months, I was ready to go. I had prepped my body with weekly acupuncture and even fertility massages.

Everything went smoothly, and I waited impatiently for days until I could take a test.

On December 13th,  I took a test, 5dpt ( 5 days post transfer) and got a positive line! This was very early, so I felt confident that I had a strong implantation. Everyday the line was stronger, and I waited until December 18th to get my official result at the doctor's office. My beta was 112! I was hoping for somewhat higher, but 112 was a strong number. What really matters the most is that it doubles in 24 hours.

So we went back 3 days later, and the number was 351..more than doubled!

On Christmas Eve, we announced to our families that we were pregnant. In the back of my mind it felt so early, and we were a little uncomfortable sharing before a heartbeat, but we only told our immediate families, and swore them to secrecy. My sister in law also announced that she was pregnant- only 3 weeks apart! My heart filled with joy, and my first thoughts were that now this all made sense. Everything was delayed in the way that it was, because we were meant to have babies together just weeks apart.

That joy for me, didn't last long. In just a day or two, I started feeling major anxiety about my pregnancy. Because we had gone home, we weren't able to do the 3rd beta ( blood) test to confirm that numbers were still rising. So we would be doing it about a week after the 2nd, and normally they are done about 48 hours later. If they numbers aren't rising, there's really nothing that can be done, you just simply know that it might not be a viable pregnancy.

I guess it's just intuition, but I knew deep down in my heart, that something just wasn't right. I had no reason to believe that,  my numbers were beautiful so far. It was just a mother's gut feeling I suppose.  I became irritable to my family ( probably also because of the high dose of hormones that I was one), but I was just ready to get back to Chicago and find out my beta numbers.

When we got back to Chicago I had my 3rd beta test, which was 8 days after our 2nd test. The nurse called me and said that my numbers looked great at 1300.  My mind wasn't working quite right, but I hung up the phone and my heart sunk. I knew that it wasn't a good number. I called back after doing some math, realizing that my number should be much higher, and she did realize that it had been 8 days since my last test, not the typical 48 hours, so in fact the number wasn't so good. The doctor told me to be "cautiously optimistic" and come back in 2 days.

We went back on January 5th ( 5 days before my birthday) and it was confirmed, I had a blighted ovum. It means that the embryo implanted, but didn't progress or develop. Usually it means that there was an abnormality with the embryo. It's the cause of most early miscarriages.

My heart sank looking at the empty sac. I still have visions of that screen, seeing it before they even told me. My husband held my hand, we both kept a strong face, and after the nurse left I got dressed and we walked out. We were both expecting it, but of course you always hope for a little miracle. I was just numb, and ready to move on. The miscarriage started the next day, I got my tears out over the next few days, but it was the worst birthday of my life.

Throughout all of the sadness and heartache, I still felt lucky. I felt sorry for myself, but still hopeful because 1-  I was able to get pregnant, and 2- I had more frozen embryos to try again. Not everyone is that lucky, and I chose to feel grateful through my heartache.

I will never forget the feeling of finally being pregnant at Christmas, or the feeling of my first positive pregnancy test. I'll always remember the sweet flowers that my husband bought for me the date of  my home test, and the dinner we went to afterward our first beta to celebrate.

A snowflake ornament hangs on my tree this year for my 1st "frostie" that didn't make it.

Celebrating our first pregnancy.
Lately whenever I go shopping at somewhere with baby stuff, I get very teary eyed. Today, it was a Hobby Lobby. I went specifically to find nautical decor for our baby boy's nursery.

I walked in, and turned down the Christmas aisle. Instantly, my eyes welled up with tears.Tears of overwhelming joy, knowing that this Christmas, my prayers will finally be answered. Even years before I was married to my husband, this is something that I've longed for around the holidays.

Last Christmas, I did experience joy, and Christmas was a happy time. I had a frozen embryo transfer on December 8th, and announced to our immediate family that I was pregnant on Christmas. Although I did experience happiness, I was very nervous and just had an uneasy feeling. Sure enough, my gut feeling was right, and I had a miscarriage on January 5th, 5 days before my 32nd birthday. It was my worst birthday ever, as I had lost everything that I'd ever wanted.

I'm one of the lucky ones though, and had a successful frozen embryo transfer on March 30th, and am now 30 weeks pregnant with a sweet baby boy. Guess when he's due? December 17th. I cry, just thinking about how grateful I am very this very special gift. When I walk through aisles a the store, I almost want to pinch myself, and I can't believe that this is real life, my life. I am about to have a little family with my husband, who I truly adore and love more each day because we made this sweet blessing together.

But as I walk through the store, feeling overwhelmingly grateful, my heart still aches. It aches deeeply for other women who are about to be going through another set of holidays without their biggest wish. It's just not fair for a woman to go through such a deep sense of loss and longing for something that is at the core of our being. There's no ache in your soul that compares to the one you feel with infertility or miscarriages.


As I'm writing this, a little white butterfly just flew outside my window. I see this butterfly from time to time, usually on special occasions ( like my baby shower) or when I've been feeling extra emotional or sentimental about my pregnancy. I know that this butterfly is my baby, and it brings me so much comfort. I sometimes see two flying together and know that the other is my second embryo from my current pregnancy, that I believe implanted but didn't continue to grow.

Never ever give up on your dreams of being a mother. Although I wish that I never had to go through the storm of infertility- it has made me a stronger and better person.


Amazingly Delicious- IVF Friendly Bananna Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

 Amazingly Delicious- IVF Friendly Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins

( wheat and dairy free)

I know how hard it is going through IVF and trying hard to possibly maintain a wheat free, dairy free and non-refined sugars diet.  I went through 1 retrieval, and 2 rounds of frozen transfers ..so from start to finish I was trying to maintain this diet ( the best that I could) for about 9 months. I was not perfect, and sometimes these recipes aren't "perfect", but, you can always make substitutions that are better for you. Depending on your restrictions, you might need to make a few adjustments. This recipe does call for brown sugar, but you can substitute honey or another sweetener that is non-refined. There are also chocolate chips in this recipe. Either go easy on them, or you can buy non-dairy chocolate chips at many place ( Whole Foods), or crush up your own dark chocolate bar.

The bananas make this recipe truly delicious! It's the secret ingredient to making treats that taste like you are breaking your diet. This recipe is inspired by: Chelsea's Messy Apron

IVF Friendly Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins



Ingredients:
  • 2 medium ripe bananas (about 1 cup mashed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups  rolled oats (old fashioned or quick)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar **( this is NOT IVF friendly, but you can substitute pure maple syrup, honey or sweetener of your choice-- directions below)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (85 g) chocolate chips, mini or regular. Raisins would work too. ( You can skip these, use dairy free, or my favorite is to get a dark chocolate bar, one that is like 80% cocoa, and crush it up and use that as chunks)  


 How to make them:
  1. Preheat oven to 400F (204C) and prepare a muffin pan ( I used mini)  by spraying the cavities with cooking spray or lining them with paper liners**. Set aside. 
  2.  Add all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips to a blender or food processor and process on high until the oats are broken down and batter is smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.( I like to add a few to the top for looks )
  3. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each cavity until it is about 3/4 full. Optional: sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the top of each muffin.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes ( about 9 minutes for mini), until the tops of your muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for ~10 minutes before removing. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.

    ** Substituting Honey for Sugar: Use equal amounts of honey for sugar up to one cup. Over one cup, replace each cup of sugar with 2/3 to 3/4 cup over honey depending upon the sweetness desired. In baked goods, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of honey if baking soda is not already included in the recipe. This will reduce the acidity of the honey, as well as increase the volume of your product.