If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this post from a few days ago:
Yes, we’re expecting! And it’s been part of the reason why I’ve been fairly quiet on here and on social media.
After struggling with infertility for several years until I discovered the root cause in September of last year, I was readying myself for another long struggle of actually trying to get pregnant. First of all, couples only have a 20-25% chance of conceiving each month; about 1 in 6 couples in Canada struggle with infertility; and miscarriages happen to about 1 in 4 women who do get pregnant. Not fantastic odds, so I was doing everything I could to hopefully swing those odds into our favour.
I took prenatal vitamins. I ate fertility-enhancing foods like full-fat dairy and flax seeds. I didn’t drink. I reduced my coffee intake. I only did light workouts, scared that if I did anything too intense I would throw my hormones out of whack again. I tracked my cycle with ovulation predictor kits and bought a basal thermometer you wear nightly to get the most accurate reading. I charted my cycle in fertility apps.
And, we got lucky. It only took one month of trying before we conceived.
Of course we were thrilled, but I was on edge during my entire first trimester. Due to the high miscarriage statistics I had in the back of my mind, I was pretty much expecting a loss right away. Soon after getting a positive pregnancy test, we were off to New Zealand on our honeymoon, which was a nice distraction from my miscarriage anxiety for about 3 weeks.
I was also feeling oddly bad about getting pregnant so fast – I know so many couples who have struggled with infertility and experienced losses, and I felt like our luck was too good to be true. I felt like it was unfair and didn’t want to be the one to post our happy news that would make someone else feel sad. This is one of the reasons why I’ve been pretty quiet on social media and why we waited so long to post something. It’s been a weird mix of emotions these past few months, that’s for sure.
Other than being extremely tired and having some food and smell aversions during weeks 8-10, I felt pretty good during my first trimester. To help ease my anxiety, I ended up buying an at-home fetal Doppler as soon as we got back from New Zealand so we could listen to the baby’s heart beat. My anxiety dropped a few notches when we first heard his little heart beating away, which was before I was able to get in to see a maternal doctor.
The Doppler helped for awhile, until we had our first ultrasound.
It was a relief to see a tiny human with hands, feet, legs, brain and a little heart beating away at our first ultrasound. I was doing good until the doctor called a few days later to say the femurs were measuring 6 days behind, which could be a soft marker for genetic issues, but everything else looked good. Of course, I start Googling “femur length measuring behind 13 week ultrasound”, and so begins about 1.5 months of the worst anxiety I’ve experienced in my life.
Not long after that ultrasound, I did the serum integrated prenatal screen (SIPS test, also called the Quad screen) blood test to check for genetic issues because of the femur length. I got a call in early April that gave us a 1 in 4 chance of our baby having a genetic issue. We were shocked and devastated, and decided to do amniocentesis the following week for a definitive answer.
The amniocentesis procedure was scary (they stick a massive needle into your uterus right next to your baby, after all), and uncomfortable but not super painful. It only took about a minute. I was advised to stay home and rest for 48 hours, but didn’t do much of anything that entire week waiting for the early results. That was probably the worst week of my life. It was so stressful for both of us, waiting to hear of our baby was going to be okay.
I had the procedure done on a Tuesday, and on Thursday the genetic counselor phoned and told us that there were no abnormalities found and baby is A-okay. We also found out we are having a boy!
I cried happy tears when we found out, even though I know it would be another few weeks until we got the full panel back (the initial results rule out the three main genetic issues: trisomy 13, 18 and 21, two of which can be incompatible with life). We didn’t hear back on those until just last week, where they told us again no issues were found. We also had our 19-week anatomy scan two weeks ago where they check the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and other critical parts to make sure there are no issues, and baby was totally fine. Even his femurs are catching up in terms of growth. We were SO relieved, as you can imagine.
I’m not completely out of the woods yet in terms of maternal complications – due to the weird blood test results I had, they said I may develop pre-eclampsia and will have to be monitored. But at least baby is doing good and everything else we will handle as it comes. My blood pressure has been high, so I’m half expecting to have to be induced and deliver early. Fingers crossed that’s not the case, but we’ll deal with that if it happens. For now we’re just happy to finally be able to tell people we’re expecting (although by now if you saw me my bump is obvious!) and enjoy being pregnant.
Now that you know what’s been going on, I’ll post more regularly again and will share my prenatal workout and yoga routine, if you’re interested, plus other things fitness, health and pregnancy related.