Sunday, January 24, 2016

1st Trimester... (Part 2 of Filling in the Missing Pieces)

Part 2 of filling you in on the missing pieces. This post will cover the 1st trimester. :) 

The last post covered the FET process, which essentially was the 1st 4 weeks of our pregnancy. Conception doesn't happen until week 2 of your cycle, so technically you get 2 free weeks of your pregnancy because nothing has happened yet. Typically the earliest people find out they're pregnant is at 4 weeks. Sounds funny, I know, but it's science and fact, so don't try to argue it... it's just how it is! ;) So we found out at exactly 4 weeks and have been on Cloud 9 since then. 

Above were all of our pregnancy test numbers. As a reminder, BFP= Big Fat Positive and it's a term the underground TTC Community (TTC= Trying to Conceive) uses quite often for a positive pregnancy test (the opposite would be BFN, big fat negative... never a fun thing but we endured almost 4 years of those to get our solid BFP). Ok enough with the acronyms and on to the fun stuff! 

I can always use reminders to think positively. I love the word "Believe" and I love finding it in stores and on fun signs. My TTC friend Christina (aka "my little TTC sis") and I send each other Believe pics all the time when we come across items from the mid west (where she lives) or here on the east coast. Can't remember who took this one or where it was from but it was super cute. There are a lot of Believe signs especially around Christmas. **IF I ever am brave enough to get a tattoo some day, I think I will incorporate "believe" in there somewhere... Notice how "IF" is in caps. ;)

1st Trimester :)
We hit all of our new weekly milestones each Wednesday. November 18th was 4 weeks, so we count forward by that.  :) 

4 Weeks (Nov. 18-24)
The week we found out was incredibly surreal and almost somewhat of a blur. We were in complete shock, extremely happy and nervous at the same time, and trying our best to keep calm and not let the excitement show to everyone just yet. In other words, this was EXTREMELY difficult! All we wanted to do was shout it to everyone and buy every baby item in sight! As I said in the last post, I wanted a Beta of 100 and when we got 282, then 745, then 2,714, I just started to feel like it was finally the real deal. I was terrified of jinxing it though but we still couldn't help but tell Alli & Manny, our two best friends, ASAP. They both found out in week 4. 

We told Manny almost ASAP the day we found out. Again, we were nervous, but if anything happened and we were to miscarry again, he would find out anyway (same with Alli) so we wanted to tell them immediately. I knew I was seeing Alli that weekend so I waited to tell her in person. For Manny, we FaceTime often (he lives in MD) and Scott asked him to look something up for us. He said to Google "282 hcg" (our pregnancy test result). It brought up a bunch of discussion board links about whether or not that was a good pregnancy number. Enough key words for him to get it pretty quickly and go wide-eyed and start cheering. Mission accomplished. :) 

We told Alli that weekend. I'm Godmother to her son so we went up to visit for the baptism (they live an hour away from us so we don't see each other as often as we would like). We went up to the house earlier in the day to help with the kids while they got ready. Alli had given us a bottle of wine 4 years ago when we started trying to have a baby and told us to save it and have in celebration for when it worked. It's sat in our wine fridge for 4 years (and it's a white, so it probably had done bad, but I couldn't get rid of it) and I also had a post-it on it that it was the special wine from her. We brought it up and within a few minutes of getting to their house, Scott said we brought some wine, since today was a special occasion. Alli had her back to us but when she turned and saw it, she immediately knew what it was and started crying. It was so sweet. :) Her hubby had been out running errands and when he came back just happened to say "Hey, gang!"... I thought for a minute, speechless of how to tell him (I'm horrible at thinking on the spot) but spit out "Well that's odd, normally you don't use the term "gang" for just 2 people.... but technically there is a gang of us today. Maybe my smile said it all but it only took him a few seconds to get it and reply "Yea??!" It was a fun way to share our special news with them. :) 

We also got to hang out with my brother, sister-in-law, nephews, and niece that weekend! They came back to NY for Thanksgiving and were staying at my Dad's house. We got to spend the whole day with them the Sunday before and it was hard to not spill the beans. They had heard about the cider place we went to the week before (before we knew we were pregnant and when I only had a few sips but made it seem like I was drinking more by posting pics). They wanted to go with us and I thought "Ahhh!! I need a plan!". We told them we were gearing up for another IVF cycle soon, so I didn't want to drink in preparation (totally believable). I'm pretty sure they bought it, it was technically almost true anyway, we just were a few weeks ahead of ourselves. So I was able to pass off drinks easily for then and for Thanksgiving (once we fed my dad the same excuse). 

We returned to the fertility clinic at the end of week 4 for our first pregnancy ultrasound, to check for the placement of the implanted embryos. Again, as mentioned in the last post, there were TWO gestational sacs safely in my uterus where they belonged (Home Sweet Home). At that point we were pregnant with twins!! Twins that were only the itty bitty size of poppy seeds! Eek!! So teeny! :) 

5 Weeks (Nov. 25-Dec. 1)
Week 5 arrived pretty quickly because week 4 was full of activity (repeat blood tests to check my levels, an ultrasound, family plans, etc.). As much as I didn't want to wish away any time, these first few weeks were hard in their own way because we just wanted to fast forward and get past 5 weeks and make sure we had some babies safely growing in there. So far, seeing a gestational sac (especially 2!) was further than we got 2 years ago when we miscarried at 5 weeks before even getting to that point. It was surreal. At this point, it was the week of Thanksgiving. It was a short week at school (luckily!) and family was in town so it was exciting and busy again! I was hoping so badly that things would hang on and that me acting weird wouldn't give anything away (I wear my heart/emotions/everything on my sleeve/face and I figured everyone knew the second I knew! Talk about paranoia!). 

Thanksgiving was easier to survive than I thought. We had already told my brother/fam about not drinking and then had to tell my dad the same. He doesn't drink himself either so I don't think that was too odd. We did, however, have to do injections after dinner though (my days changed from Tues/Fri to Mon/Thurs that week) so we had to announce to them as well that we were again prepping for another cycle. Luckily they didn't question because none of them know the details/protocol first hand, so I feel like anything we said would have flown. It was so hard not to announce that day because I had seen so many adorable Thanksgiving-themed announcements on Pinterest that week (2 turkeys in this oven, etc. etc.) but it was definitely not time yet and we had to keep our secret safe. 

By this point I didn't really have any symptoms yet. I was getting nauseous before transfer because of the estrogen shots (especially if I didn't eat often enough) and getting a little tired/bloated from the progesterone, but that's pretty much it. I was always hungry but that wasn't much of a new thing for me. I was getting what seemed to be weekly headaches/mini migraines but we chalk that up to the hormone fluctuations. All in all it was a good week and a fun one! The day after Thanksgiving, we went to NYC with Mark and the kids. We spent the morning at The Museum of Natural History and then had lunch/walked around in Central Park. It was around 60 degrees, which is so unlike November in NY!! It was beautiful! 

Already growing rapidly to the size of apple seeds!! <3 <3 Feeling lots of bloated.

Central Park, NYC... Looking back now, thankfully Mark & Stacie didn't let on because Scott's hand and mine went instinctively to my belly. HA! :) 

6 Weeks (Dec. 2-8)
At 6 weeks, we finally got to go back for our next ultrasound on Dec 7th!! This time we knew we would see something and we were especially looking for heartbeats! We knew we wouldn't be able to hear them at this point but the Dr would just be looking for a flicker of light. Luckily we got to schedule this one with our Dr again (it's a big practice) and we were super super nervous for the outcome. It's crazy how every new step/milestone can make you go right back to ground zero of a 50/50 chance of good news vs bad. It's like it erases all the great steps you've already achieved but you just can't help it. I was so terrified to accept that this was finally happening. I felt like life would tear it from our grasp at any moment because it was too good to be true. 

Anyway, there I am laying in the most awkward of positions for the ultrasound... (Crazy how SEMI-used to these I have gotten. Again, talk about almost curing weird crazy fears of mine. I'm one of the most modest people ever yet I feel like I always have to be in this God-awful awkward position, more so than the average woman, thanks to infertility- lol.). The long and short of it is that there was a heartbeat, but there was only one heartbeat. Baby A hadn't caught up and developed into anything, it looked like an empty sac that was significantly smaller than Baby B's sac. Baby B had a heartbeat and the beginnings of the placenta and the body. 

Our Dr. apologized right away and felt terrible that it wasn't twins but we were like "No, No! There's a baby!! It's ok! That's what we ultimately wanted!". We were over the moon with the thought of twins and yes that would have been nice and it's why we tried for 2, but ultimately we were in this for A baby and that's what we had. He assured us that the heartbeat we saw was a strong one (though we weren't able to measure its bpm at that point he knew it was certainly fast enough). He also assured us that it's common for one twin to not develop as the other did, and that it would likely dissolve into the surviving twin (whatever was there of it).

We asked what the next steps were and when the next ultrasound was and that that point our Dr. was like "Well, technically this is it. Everything looks great and you can call your OB." We weren't ready for that, it was kind of bittersweet to think we were done with them and had graduated in a sense. We left being thrilled that we had a beating heart and were doing well, but also kind of sad to not have to go back to the office any time soon. Saves us the hour drive each way but it was bittersweet after working with them so closely for the last few months. 

I have to admit, I was handing the news about Baby A totally fine... until we got home. Once home, it hit me and I started sobbing. Like a serious ugly cry, as if we had lost both of them. I was so sad for Baby A and felt guilty that I couldn't help it develop. I felt bad that it couldn't hang on and that we lost another embryo. Scott was so confused since I was totally put together the rest of the day and I tried my best to explain that I was thrilled and ok with it for the most part but kept just feeling sad that we lost yet another one and that how did we know Baby B would hang on. He was so good (he always is, I'm so lucky he's so sweet and caring) and he kept reassuring me by saying that Baby A would only make Baby B stronger and be yet another guardian angel for its twin, our baby. I also know that health-wise one baby is definitely more safe and lower risk than two, yadda yadda yadda. But I allowed myself to just cry it out that day/night and then moved on. I know Baby A, along with our first embryo and our first Angel Baby, will look over Baby B moving forward. I have to hold onto hope and believe that. From this point on, Baby B was known as "Baby Bee", thanks to the suggestion of a friend. We loved it, it immediately stuck, and it's just been our fav nickname since. 

Otherwise, still no real symptoms. Still occasional headaches... hungry often so I'm eating more... tired! All normal and expected. No nausea. :) :) 

Already the size of a sweet pea. <3

 We went to a wine trail event on Week 6... Don't worry, I didn't drink a sip!! We had already purchased tickets and it's a fun Christmas-themed event where each of the local wineries were decorated for Christmas, gave out an ornament, and had food/wine pairings. I showed up at each for the ornaments and food. Being DD can be super fun! :) AND it was another beautiful weekend with weather in the 50s... for December! Sweet!

(Baby A's sac was empty, as seen in the smaller shaded triangular dark spot. Baby B's is the bigger one below which looks like it has a baby inside. However, it's not a baby but actually 2 pieces. The big circular shape is what will become the placenta and the oval/rectangular shape under it is the fetus! Our Baby Bee!!) <3 <3 <3 

Scott was so excited he blocked me out... hehe :)

Retake :) 

Showing our close fam friend at the clinic, after our ultrasound of the heartbeat/Baby. <3 Pure joy!

As much as I'm sad that we lost Twin/Baby A, we're so thankful to have made it to this point!

So so so in love with our little peanut <3

7 Weeks (Dec. 9-15)
At 7 weeks we were excited to have an upcoming appointment with my OB. It was still a week away but it was something fun to look forward to!! Also at this point, we were weaning off of the estrogen shots. Our Dr. told us at the 6-week ultrasound (which was 2 days shy of 7 weeks) that he would be weaning us off. We originally did a dose of 4mg (which isn't much at all on the syringe) and it was slowly starting to go down a mg each night (remember we were at 2x a week still). Just before 7 weeks we went down to 3 mg, then during 7 weeks we got to decrease to 2 and then 1mg. 1mg at the end of 7 weeks ended up being our last estrogen shot, I believe. :) Yay to moving down to just 1 needle every night, no more doubles twice a week! Wahoo! 

I also started to develop an ear infection around this week... grrr. I went to urgent care when I couldn't hear out of one ear and they prescribed amoxycillin. I ran it by my nurses at the clinic and they assured me it was safe. I, of course, was upset in thinking "Great, I finally get this far and now need to take meds?!" It didn't seem fair and I was extremely nervous for the baby but looked it up like 5x a day and was finally at peace (despite Scott promising it was fine and telling me to stop Googling- sorry hun!).  Other than the ear infection and just being clogged up/nasal congestion (hello, Winter and ridiculous warm/cold temp changes! Everyone was sick!), I felt mostly fine still. Thankfully still no nausea and just overall felt pretty good. I finally gave in to the fact that maybe my ear infection was a good thing because the antibiotics might help keep other school germs away from me. 

 Already a sweet little blueberry!! Eek! :)

 I created a photo book on Shutterfly about our IVF story. I recounted every step from our IVF cycle (beginning in July) and went all the way through our 1st ultrasound where we saw Twin sacs. I wasn't able to share this with anyone yet, in fear of them knowing our secret. I now have to break this out and cart it around with me for whoever wants to see. :) It's a great way to document our story, our struggle, or losses, and our wins. I never did a full IUI one but I like that this is more in-depth and it's got almost a 6-month span of the beginnings of our baby's story to share someday. <3

8 Weeks (Dec. 16-22)
We were SO excited to finally hit 8 weeks so we could get to our OB appointment and see the baby again! I was feeling so "normal" I was afraid of not seeing a heartbeat or getting bad news. We had our appointment on December 17th with our OB office. I wasn't able to get a single appointment with my assigned OB, who I had seen in the past 2 years for Gyn visits. Her schedule was booked solid until January and they really wanted to see me sooner to get the initial workup going. We had to settle for the one male Dr in the practice but I was assured that I could have my Dr moving forward. The initial visit included a complete physical exam (ouch/blah/not my fav), a urine test, a blood test, a flu shot (I don't normally get them but know it's super important while pregnant), and an ultrasound. Honestly the ultrasound was the only part we cared about and we practically begged to get it (they don't always do it but I was half in tears out of worry). We got one (this was my first abdominal ultrasound so we think it was hard to find baby and it was both blurry and tiny on the screen, but it was certainly there and we saw a clear heartbeat again! YAY!! 

There was a little confusion/discrepancy on our due date as well. In all the excitement at the fertility clinic, we never received an official due date from them, but it's so easy to look it up online and figure it out. Most often, people go by the first day of their last period as day 1. However, doing IVF makes things more specific and sometimes throws off the timeline a bit. We knew our transfer was November 9th and that it was considered a day-5 transfer so we calculated the due date of July 27, 2016. The OB wanted to go off my last period, which changed it to July 24. The ultrasound Dr thought the baby was measuring a few days or so behind/small (we think because it wasn't clear) and he estimated August 2nd. We walked out confused but still wanted to stick with 7/27 for us. We felt that was still the most accurate and that once baby was bigger we would get a better idea of what he/she was measuring. 

Also, to this point I gained anywhere up to 5 pounds. I wasn't too thrilled with that but honestly think most of it was from the hormone injections, having zero energy to exercise, and eating so much more. I'm trying to eat smart when I can but it's also known amongst the IVF community that the meds will definitely make you bloated and gain a few pounds.

I have to admit the flu shot wasn't terrible and I survived the blood draw just fine as well (lots of vials- I didn't even count!). We were back on Cloud 9 with another look at our strong heartbeat and we were instructed to come back again in 4 weeks.... Wait, what?! We had only gone 1-2 weeks at this point, how in the world would we survive FOUR WEEKS with nothing? We thought we would go insane but we had to wait another month before seeing Bee again. <3

We had a cookie exchange at school just before Christmas... I couldn't help but sit and just stuff my face immediately. This is not a weird thing amongst my coworkers but was especially funny to the one coworker in the room who knew I was preggers. ;) She snapped the pic and we both just laughed!

School was a short week that week because it was the week of Christmas. We ended up hanging out at Amy's house on the night that kicked off Christmas break. I was trying to actively throw people off with my Instagram posts so we posted this pic of Amy's beer and my wine... little did anyone know it was alcohol FREE wine! hahaha ;) It wouldn't be like me to post nothing for months so I had to throw things in whenever I could to throw off friends and fam. I wanted them to think life was normal so we could someday surprise them. 

Ta-Da!! This stuff actually isn't all that bad! There's a moscato one I've tried before and like, but we haven't been able to find it now that we're looking for it, of course! It's a fun way to still feel like you can hang with your drinking friends... I suppose juice in a wine glass works just as well! ;)

9 Weeks (Dec. 23-29)
Finally Christmas was just days away!! We were busy planning a big reveal to our immediate families for Christmas day and were very excited about it. Making it a full month was super hard! I kept avoiding long conversations with my parents and I avoided going with Scott to his parents' house (they're only 10 mins away). I was afraid they would totally catch on because I feared I had guilt or pregnancy written all over me. We were excited to be able to sigh some relief on Christmas day. Just like last year, Scott and I spent Christmas Eve day/night in NYC as our gift to each other. We spent the day walking around, shopping, finding great places to eat, and went to the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center). I ordered non-alcoholic drinks and tried to keep posting them as if they were real drinks. 

At this point, more and more fatigue was starting to set in. Walking around the city was harder than it's ever been. I told Scott I felt bad that I couldn't hang anymore and I just got winded so easily after a few blocks. We took it slower than normal and took a taxi back to the hotel that night instead of trying to do it all again. I was definitely able to eat more than normal, though, that much was becoming clear. ;)

Finally Christmas morning arrived and before the big reveal, we opened up our stockings. In the past we normally stock them with candy but this time said it could be anything small as these were our only gifts. To both of our surprises, we each got each other some baby items (onesies, bibs, toys, etc.) I love when we think alike! It was super cute. :) Some of the items are pictured below. 

Ok time for the big reveals!! We had 6 on our list for the day- my mom, my Dad, my brother, Scott's parents, Scott's brother, and Nanny, all in that order based on who we would see/talk to on our way home from the city. We were so excited we could barely contain ourselves!! 

My Mom- 
We FaceTimed my mom (which I don't normally do) and told her I wanted to show her something Scott got me. It was believable enough. I talked to her for a few mins about what we did in the city the day before and then put the screen on the goods. Alli had lent me all her maternity stuff the week before and in the bin was a shirt that said "Tis the season to be pregnant". Scott laid that out on the bed next to the baby items we had given each other. I scanned the camera from one to the next thinking Mom would get it immediately. She said "aww those are cute!" but that's about it. Then after a minute (as I scanned the camera over the shirt again) she goes "Are you trying to tell me something?" and I said "YESSSSSSSS!!!". Haha, poor woman was probably too scared to get her hopes up, but those were some funny items to give each other if we weren't pregnant. hehe. :) She was super excited and that closed out mission # 1 for the day. :) 

My Dad-
We stopped at my dad's house on the way home so we could have a late breakfast/early Christmas lunch. The plan was to use Alli's t-shirt as our announcement. We also had a wrapped photo frame of an ultrasound pic that said "Tiny Miracle" (We had one for all the grandparents and for us as well). Assuming I would see my dad first or at the same time as my stepmother, I didn't think twice about the plan of attack. But as we walked in the house, it was clear my dad was back in the kitchen and I would have to get passed my stepmother first. She saw the shirt before I was even close to the kitchen where my dad was, and she started to react to it but I literally ran past her and just stood in front of my dad. Sorry! :) I was so scared of her shouting it out before my dad could see it. It was probably very rude of me to do that but I wanted him to see it on his own and after planning it out I had no choice but to keep going! My dad did a double take as he read and processed the words then said something like "Oh thank God!", started crying and gave me a hug. Phew! Mission 2 accomplished. 

My Brother-
While we were visiting my dad, I had originally planned for him to FaceTime Mark and the kids (which would not be unusual) and then I would jump on. But Mark was busy prepping for their Christmas guests that he was running around busy and asked if we could just talk later in the day. I a not good with backup plans and since Mom already knew and would see him soon, I was like "Oh no! We need to think of a way to get him on FaceTime". Risking blowing my cover (which I kinda did with my sudden urgency), Mark FaceTimed really fast and we told him we sent him the wrong Christmas card. He was confused so then I held up a "Merry Christmas, Aunt & Uncle" card and said we meant to send this one. His face lit up as he got it and he was very excited for us! Then I was able to explain my crazy actions of trying to hard to get him to be free on video chat for a few mins. Ha! Not the smoothest on my part; Sorry, Mark! :)

Scott's Parents-
After leaving my dad's, we were headed home quick to drop off some things and then head to Scott's parents' for dinner. They had friends coming over about 30 mins after we were scheduled to get there so we had to rush in order to tell them when it was just them. I decided against using the shirt again since it didn't go as well as I planned. If both/all people didn't see me in the shirt at the same time, it would fall apart. So I just wore a regular outfit so we could remain unnoticed until go time. We got to the house and had a few mins with just us and his parents. We originally told all our parents we weren't doing Christmas gifts this year to save money (true- also the reason we skipped Christmas cards this year too) but we told them we had gotten them something in the city. When they tried to reject it because it went against what we said, we assured them it was nothing much. They open the gift, which was the framed ultrasound pic, and they were in immediate shock! Happy shock of course and we got them good. I almost wish I hadn't even used the shirt for my parents but it all still worked out well and was a cute plan. More happy tears. Go us! 

Scott's Brother-
Scott's brother had been out when we first got to the house and then went into the basement when he got home so we went to show him the same pic and he was overjoyed too. He said he had a feeling but wasn't sure and didn't want to ask. Just before we found out we were pregnant, we had all gone out to a bar together and I didn't drink. We hid it from his parents but told Brian that we were possibly pregnant and wanted to be safe just in case. We never updated him and he never asked, but paired that with the fact that their mom had been crying just a few mins before, when he walked in the house (pretty much a few mins after we had told her). :) 

Nanny is my maternal grandmother and the only grandparent left between us. We called her and immediately realized she had been taking a nap and had just fallen asleep. I asked if she wanted us to let her go but she said it was ok. I assured her we would keep it short and that we just wanted to share some fun news and told her we are having a baby! She immediately perked up and you could hear the excitement in her voice; it was so cute! :) 

We did it!! We breathed a big sigh of relief at finally telling our immediate families... but we still weren't out of the woods yet. It was still very early in the pregnancy and I feared anything could happen over the next 3 weeks. We still had to keep it a secret out of safety (to make sure Baby Bee was safe and growing as he/she should) before we could tell the world our big news. Bring on the next, and most difficult, 3 weeks! 

Up to this point I was still feeling the same. :) Hungry, tired, bloated, and occasional headaches. It was hard to tell if I was gaining weight from A) hormones/bloat, B) all the food I was starting to eat nonstop, or C) baby love :) I was also starting to wean off of progesterone. Just before Christmas, at the end of week 8, the nurses told me to keep the same dose of PIO shots but to move to every other night (as opposed to nightly). This was SOOO exciting and we got to skip a shot on Christmas Eve while in the city. Score!

Baby Bump is starting to show a bit!!! :)

Top of the Rock in NYC, Christmas Eve

Drinks and fries on Christmas Eve (non-alcoholic juice drink for me!) ;)

 Some of the Christmas baby stuff we got each other :)

10 Weeks (Dec. 30-Jan.5)
New Year's Eve was quickly approaching and another year was coming to an end. I was also weaning off PIO shots more and more. We went from daily shots for 7 weeks to every other night the week of Christmas. On Christmas Eve they called to say do every 3 nights. I was still doing my blood draws 2x a week, but just checking progesterone at this point. My level was dropping and I was getting nervous it was too low, but they were doing it on purpose to watch and see when it would rise on its own. The placenta would take over hormone production at any day now and once that happened they would stop my shots. We stayed on every 3 days for about a week and New Year's Eve ended up being our LAST PIO SHOT!!! We didn't know it at the time (we were just excited it was the last one in 2015 so thankfully documented a pic in honor of that) but my levels started to rise on their own at my blood test on Jan 4th. Thankfully it was starting to finally kick in on its own so I stopped shots altogether during 10 weeks. It was weird at first not knowing what to do with our evenings, as the whole routine would take about an hour of our night (numbing cream, ice, prepping the shot, doing the injection, rubbing the site, and adding a heating pad... all bc I'm a wuss). Gaining time back was amazing yet weird at first. 

I had loved being on Christmas break for a week and a half because I got to hide from everyone at school. I pretty much lived in sweatpants, ate whatever I wanted/whenever I wanted, and I took very frequent naps! :) Going back to school on January 4th was tough. I was exhausted and still had to try to hide it for another 2 weeks. My clothes were getting tight and I questioned why I couldn't wear sweatpants every day to school. Thank goodness for leggings being a close second, and for being as comfy as they are stretchy. They saved me for a bit while I scrounged up all the long or baggy shirts I could find! I think I went home and napped a lot that week. 

Not my fav of the weekly bump pics but once energy is back up, I'm heading back to the gym for some low impact exercise. 

New Year's Eve :)
We had a very relaxing, low key NYE, and I loved it that way. We knew we had to do a PIO shot and I didn't want to be at a party or someone's crowded house for it. Instead, we went to the movies with some friends who are also pregnant and then went out for dinner at our local Mexican restaurant. I also didn't think I'd make it to midnight, but somehow I just barely did! We had some sparkling cider ready and there was no hangover headache the next day- it was great! Hello 2016! :)

My bubbly on NYE- sparkling cider ;)

Wink Wink ;)

I love that we got to leave the dark chapter of infertility behind in 2015 and start a new chapter of 2016. Little did we know this was our absolute LAST SHOT! :) :)

11 Weeks (Jan 6-12)
The start to 11 weeks fell on Scott's 33rd birthday... 11 on 33! :) Scott didn't want me to get him any gifts so we could save some money, but I got him some gifts from me AND from the baby, so he couldn't really argue with that. ;) haha. I got him some Daddy books and a SuperDad t-shirt with the Superman logo. Week 11 wasn't too eventful other than Scott's birthday AND that we got to take our announcement pics!! Our friend Manny came up for the weekend to take them for us. He's a photographer and we had kind of begged him to do our pics. That weekend we drove up to Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park and took some cute pics outdoors. It was pretty cold and started to drizzle on and off but we managed to get in almost 2 hours of a fun baby announcement photoshoot before going out to celebrate Scott's birthday. :) *Some announcement pics were used in our announcement newsletter but they were in a collage so I will post them separately in a separate post later this week. 

Still feeling great- same symptoms, if any. :) 

12 Weeks (Jan. 13-19)
Finally the week we had been not-so-patiently waiting for!! I was so nervous things weren't okay, yet I had no symptoms otherwise. No severe cramping or bleeding. I felt great. I almost felt too normal and got nervous that it was probably too weird to feel normal. But we kept on trekking. I reached the final days of getting through school quietly and avoiding being around anyone too long out of fear they would catch on to something. My pants were really tight at this point and I tried using one of those belly bands but it kept rolling and made me extra self-conscious. I carefully picked out my outfits for the remainder of the week and was SO excited when I made it through Friday without anyone catching on. *Friday was especially hard because we had a staff development afternoon and we were all together. Our administrators asked if anyone had any exciting news or announcements to share and it was so hard to keep my mouth shut! But I knew I didn't want to jinx it before the appointment on Monday and I had to keep quiet to make sure baby was safe and growing on schedule. 

Finally Monday, Jan. 18th (MLK Jr Day) arrived... Our 12 week appt with our OB. Technically we were closer to 13 weeks but either way we were in the clear as long as our ultrasound showed things were good. Up to this point, our 3 prior ultrasounds showed Baby Bee as a little blob, a jellybean, or semi gummy bear. We were so excited to finally see a tiny human. We first had an appt with the ultrasound tech in radiology and she told us that she would look for the baby first and then turn the screen to us. I held Scott's hand and just focused on his face. All of a sudden I see his eyes light up and he slowly mouths "Ohhh myy God" and smiled. I immediately knew it was good and quickly turned to see our baby front and center on the screen, looking like a baby!!! AHH!! This is real!! I think I yelled out and cried lots of happy tears. This was soooo exciting! We also got to finally hear the heartbeat, after only seeing the tiny flicker twice. It is hands down one of the most amazing sounds ever. It measured in at 155 bpm, which the tech said was great. She also said we were measuring right on track to 12weeks 5 days, according to the due date we gave her. She pointed out parts of the body like the heart, stomach, and bladder (all tiny dark spots easily seen), both arms and legs, parts of the brain, etc. It was purely incredible. Baby Bee is a teeny tiny human!! At one point he/she was bouncing around and you could see all the limbs and the whole body at once, it was so so so amazing! We were just so incredibly in love at first sight all over again. 

Our OB and another Dr confirmed that July 27 was more accurate for IVF and for what the baby was measuring, so they fixed it on their file and we get to stick with 7/27 as an estimated due date. Hooray for lucky 7/27/16!!! 

We were ECSTATIC all through the day and went to share the news with Scott's childhood friends in person. They were so excited and then from there came the moment we had been waiting 2 whole months for as we started to send out our official announcement to anyone and everyone we had contact info for. We sent tons of emails and text messages and did it as fast as we could so people would hear it from us first. Later that night, I emailed the staff at school and posted on Instagram and here on the blog as well. It was live! Out there for the world to know! Finally our little secret was out!!!! We had waited 4 long years to get to this point and to share our news with the world; now that everything was looking good, we were soooo excited to be the ones to finally share our happy news with everyone!  :) :) 

2 days later concluded Week 12 and also the 1st trimester. We made it!! Granted, this is only one milestone and I won't actually rest until the baby is here, and then again until we get past some other newborn milestones I'm sure.... Scratch that, I'll now worry for the rest of my life! :) But bring it on. We are so so so excited and ready to take this on. 

Call me crazy but I don't even want July to get here quickly. I am loving every minute of this. Every new day and week is a new adventure and Scott and I are so madly in love with our baby and even more so with each other than ever before. It's been magical and we have waited so long for this that I'm excited to experience every moment of it. We know our lives will change. We know it will be hard. We know we won't ever fully sleep again. We know, we know, we know. But after 17 years together in all, 8 years married, and 4 of those years trying, we are thrilled to have this promotion to Mommy & Daddy. 

The Baby Bump started to make its official debut while in my gym clothes this week!! I went to walk on the treadmill and at one point I looked down and said "Why, hello there, Baby Bee!". :) 

While sitting in the office waiting to see our OB :) 

Scott patiently waiting with me in the office to see our OB :) 
Such a happy Daddy-to-Bee!

A few days before our appointment, my mom had sent me a box and said not to open it until after our appointment. I brought it in the car with me and as soon as we were back in the car, I opened it. It had 3 things- a card, a larger gift, and a smaller gift. The card made us cry lots of happy tears as it talked about the journey we had been on and all the wonderful, mushy parts of being parents (sweet stuff like that). It said the larger gift was for me, something my mom had bought recently, and it also said the smaller gift was something she got when we first started the IUI process (2 years ago). The larger gift was a Willow Tree angel- the Cherish one about awaiting a miracle and shows a pregnant mama. The smaller gift was 2 onesies with perfect sayings- "Even miracles take a little time" (one of my fav sayings through all of this actually!) and "I am the answer to lots and lots of prayers". Both were absolutely perfect and we just still can't believe this is reality. 

1st Trimester = COMPLETE!
From a poppy seed to a plum in 2 months.... wow! The creation of life is truly a miracle!! 

That's all for now, folks! Stay tuned for weekly updates in the days to come, along with other stuff like announcement pics and how I told my class the big news. :) 

Stace & Baby Bee

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