Re-learning me

Just checking back in, more as a way to collect my thoughts, I suppose. Two days shy of 11 weeks and I can’t emphasize enough how slow.time.is.passing. It is torture. And I have little timelines set in my head – if I can just get to 12 weeks, or my next ultrasound at 12.5, or 16, or 20 and find out what I’m carrying, but then after that, there will be another lull… Waiting, waiting.

And I guess I’ve heard people say that time passes more quickly after the first trimester, maybe because the pregnancy is fully internalized and then you are able to get “back to your old life”. While pregnant. But see, I don’t think I can do that. Because nothing from “my old life” is as big, as life-changing as this is. I can’t possibly imagine myself walking around all matter-of-fact – “oh, yeah, I’m pregnant. I almost forgot. Now let’s get back to teaching math.” Not to this lady. At least right now, being pregnant is in the back (slash front) of my mind 24/7. I’d say 90% is excitement, 5% is pointless worrying, and 5% is – “good lord, what have we done?” Maybe that falls under the “worrying” category as well.

I’ve done a decent job of keeping the mighty secret at work for what, again, seems like forever. Everyone knew about IVF, and then when I found out at 4 weeks, I shut right up. Of course I told my two closest friends at school, along with the school nurse at 8 weeks, and recently one more colleague, because I needed her help watching my class while I waited for the Zofran to dissolve. So that’s 4 people, and I’m good with that. Why do I need to say anything else? My bloating is like nothing else I’ve seen before, so after lunch, I sure as hell look pregnant. But whatever! I’m okay with speculation. I’m just not going to stand up and make an announcement. It is not my style. I keep assuming I will want to tell more people after 12 weeks, but who even knows. I think it’ll happen when I show, and have to tell my class, too. Until then, I’m keeping quiet.

Interestingly enough, what looks like a massive weight gain with the bloat is actually a weight gain of about two pounds. When the nausea first hit I lost 6-7 pounds, and 5 weeks later, I’ve gained two back. Looks like a lot more.

I’m having discomfort in bed. Help! I’m not even like, showing. But sleeping on my back gives me stomach pains, and on my side, my gut feels like it’s reaching and pulling so hard to reach the mattress, and it has a long way to go. So the pulling just sucks! Last night I had some killer discomfort at 2am, thanks to having a salad for dinner. Nothing was comfortable, but I’ll tell you what, that bite of the KIND bar got me back to sleep.

I tried to wean myself to a smaller amount of Zofran pills during a single day, and now the past few days the nausea has been pretty bad. I thought it was getting better, but perhaps not.

Food-wise, it’s still a crapshoot. The two items I can’t really go wrong with are, of all things, tomato-related products (especially tomato sauce and tomato soup) and melted cheese. And let it be known that before being pregnant, I didn’t particularly care for tomatoes or cheese. My massive sugar addiction that I spent a few years trying to control to get rid of my hives is nowhere to be found. I mostly want nothing to do with anything with lots of sugar, like a dessert. No candy for me. And above all, I just want “real food”. Not because I’m hungry. But anything served from a restaurant sounds pretty good. Snacks – not so much.

There’s so much to figure out, and it’s a weird thing re-learning the body you’ve come to understand for the past 28 years. I just want to get to that point where I breathe that sigh of relief, but I’m not sure that moment will ever be here.

Advertisements

10 weeks

Tomorrow, I will be ten weeks pregnant with twins. This double digit milestone is something I’ve been hopeful to reach for what seems like forever, with the next goal being, of course, 12 weeks. But even with these goals being met, I still have so long to go. And given my infertile journey and my worrying nature anyway, it just seems so hard to believe that this will continue to be my new normal.

But right now, it is, and I’m actually starting to internalize it. I’m not in a panic everyday, and I wake up each morning assuming that I’ll still be pregnant every night. So that’s good – I think I’m on the right track.

I’ve been a lot more comfortable in my newly pregnant skin in the last week and a half. Which, with that, has brought about something many of you have described after becoming pregnant – an infertile’s guilt. I don’t have, like, deep guilt by any means. I do believe that I deserve this and it was bound to happen eventually, and I feel for everyone that has had it so much worse than I ever did. However, sometimes I feel sort of sheepish. I mean it was only weeks ago that I was a hot mess, emotional, bitter and cranky. If I saw a young mom on the street with her baby, lord help me. And that was only weeks ago. If I could’ve just slapped my own face, told myself to chill, be a pleasant person and stop looking so pissed off..I don’t know. Now that I’ve slowly started to find my old self again, my old personality, I’m almost embarrassed. I get why I felt the way I did, and if something happened and I had to do it over again, I’d go right back to that place. But right now I’m happier, and it feels weird. Sometimes it feels like I shouldn’t be too happy, or at least shouldn’t show too much happiness, because people might think I’m totally nuts. Anyway, I know caring what other people think is a bad idea, but I’m just saying. I’m glad I’m happy right now and I can’t believe how miserable I have been. Talk about a personality switch.

Anyway. I’ve slowly started to figure out this new system of mine – what it likes, hates, needs, how much and how often. It only took me 10 weeks. Eating needs to be literally nonstop, meals need to have protein, and Zofran needs to be taken at 6, noon, and 6 again to keep nausea at least somewhat under control. Sometimes, at night, when there isn’t a single food I could eat that could help the nausea and I’ve given the yogurt spoon many tries, sleep is the only cure. When I’m super nauseous, I shiver like I’ve got a fever of 102. Green apples are always a sure bet, along with anything moist. No crackers, toast, or dry meats for me. Yuck. Instead of all-day nausea, I’d call it more like all-day minus about three hours. This is an improvement. Water is my best friend, along with root beer because it masks the horrible taste of Zofran. If I go to bed too early (like 8-8:30), I wake up super easily all through the night, and lie there awake needing to pee and feeling crappy but too lazy to get up. But if I go to bed too late (10:00 last night), after lying down for 10 minutes or so I get the hunger-nausea, and it is bad enough that I yank out my retainer (sexy, I know) and stuff gluten-free puffins cereal with almond milk down my throat. So many rules, and when it comes to food, I’ve made some advances.

One thing I haven’t figured out is my body. I mean, I’m extremely bloated and maybe that means showing a little, I don’t know. But it’s not like I’m huge or anything. So why am I so instantly out of shape and out of breath from virtually everything? I had to rush around the house the other day and was painfully winded and nauseous. I brought the trash out, and was winded. Today my students cleaned their desks, and as I went from desk to desk, bending over slightly and turning my head to the side to see into them, I felt light headed and dizzy. And out of breath. Taking the dogs for a walk – our nightly ritual? Almost out of the question. No more gym for me. I figured this would all happen months from now, but I never thought so soon. It’s just weird to think about how not in control I am of my own body. Granted, I wasn’t in control when I couldn’t get pregnant either. But it feels weird.

We met with two different practitioners, made our decision, and even heard the heartbeats, which was exciting. (Did I write about this in my last post? My apologies because I can’t remember.) One was in the 170’s, and the other the 140’s. We now have our 12 week ultrasound/scan thing scheduled, and I guess we will go from there. We plan to sit down this weekend and figure out how to be as financially smart as possible from now until July. But otherwise, we have no idea what we’re doing.

For now, every day that goes by with sickness, a growing and sore chest and no problems, I thank the lucky stars and go to bed hoping for the same outcome the next day.

Consuming

Consuming in more ways than one.

First of all, I consumed at the dinner table tonight. Guys, that just doesn’t happen. I mean I sat at the table and actually ate a plate of chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans. No applesauce for this girl. Hopefully, I won’t regret that decision in an hour. Today was a very rare day where for the majority of it, I felt okay. Yesterday I spent the day on the couch and it was all I could do just to lick the yogurt spoon. And I don’t mean to complain, but it’s just hard when you don’t feel like yourself day in and day out. Not in a good way either – I mean like you have the flu. For weeks on end. I can say that I’m very much looking forward to feeling better, like today, when protein was something I could actually tolerate. Feeling sickly all the time is absolutely consuming for sure.

My students must think something’s up. I am eating nonstop. Not because I’m hungry but because I’m force-feeding. I had like 8 snacks going today – hummus and pretzels, vanilla pudding, my yogurt breakfast shake, etc. I still can’t gain any weight.

In fact, the whole “being healthy” thing is very consuming. I am very glad I picked up this book:

20130107-183845.jpg

It was highly recommended off the Internet and I’m learning a lot. Like, for example, I need to gain between 40-56 pounds (yikes). And nutrition is key. And I should consider myself spent (from household work, my job, etc.) at 28 weeks. I feel very weird reading it, like I snuck into my parents’ bedroom closet and grabbed something I’m not supposed to be looking at. Twin pregnancy what? Is this real life? The book is consuming. Be healthy, rest, carry those little guys as long as possible. Get a maternal-fetal specialist. Find a hospital with a Level 3 NICU.

I just have no idea what I’m doing. No clue whatsoever. We did make our hospital selection with one of the best NICU’s in the state (though hoping not to need it of course) and I have two prenatal appointments with two different groups, and I’m hoping one of them will be my doctor. Other than that, I am consumed by Zofran, food, and nausea. By the way, my insurance changed their mind and started covering Zofran. 50 pills up until that point had cost $277. So this is good now.

And then there’s this all-consuming picture:

20130107-184804.jpg

Not much to see I guess but at 7 and a half weeks we got two strong heartbeats flickering away. 🙂 Measuring 7 weeks 3 days and 7 weeks 2 days. It was a very good appointment and I “graduated” from my fertility doctor – so sad! I’m in the big scary world with the rest of the pregnant women out there. Like a deer in headlights.

Which brings me to my last point, a consuming group of thoughts. They are hard to put into words, but maybe you will understand anyway.

This is something that is – so nerve-wracking (as in, if something bad happens), and so very personal about being pregnant that I get this weird feeling whenever someone talks to me about the twins in an excited way. Let me clarify: it’s not when discussing facts, like “how are you feeling today?” That’s not it. And there’s not a single person we have told who I regret telling. That’s not it either. It’s just – well, here’s an example.

My in-laws are so excited, of course. They are talking about clearing their schedules in July so they can “see the babies”, and they are asking us if we want them to buy us a crib, and how receiving a million diapers at a shower was such a great present and “do you need help moving furniture?” and “Have you looked into the prices of twin strollers?” and “I could help out one day a week with daycare.” That’s just an example.

And it’s all I can do not to cover my ears and scream, “La la la la”. Totally immature, I know. What is wrong with me? In my own head, I am so excited, so hopeful, all my emotions thrown into this, but on the outside I can’t. I just can’t. It’s too freaking soon. This is why people wait to tell others until 12 weeks. That didn’t happen obviously. But cribs? Daycare? July?? I am NOT there yet. Not even remotely close. And instead of being excited when I hear others discussing this in that much detail, I become frustrated and I really don’t know why.

So what I said in response was: don’t clear your whole month of July schedules, the babies could be in the NICU and you might not be able to see them anyway (who SAYS that?), I haven’t a clue if I want them to buy me a crib, we are getting a twin stroller and eventually a twin jogging stroller, not sure if we need help with furniture and, regarding daycare, “taking care of two babies by yourself is a lot”. What I kept inside my head was, “I’d just like to reach 12 weeks please, and what if I wanted to use cloth diapers??” Negative Nancy over here. Oh, and do we want to go through my husband’s old – baby clothes, baby furniture, etc.? It’s only 28 years old! Good lord. Just back off, people! I’m currently attempting to manage the “flu” and I don’t think I want anything that’s 28 years old. Just saying. Does anyone want to know what I do actually want?? Who is this about, anyway? Okay, I’m better now. But seriously, why am I putting up a wall?

It’s almost comical, but I assumed when I was pregnant I’d turn into this hippy, daisy-loving flower child. Wearing sundresses (yes, I know it’s January and I live in New England) and rubbing my guts all the time and smiling at strangers. Did I forget who I am??? That is not me, as much as I wish it was. I keep things inside, I cover up emotions, “yes, I’m fine and if you ask me one more time I’m going to lose it”. And in my head I am praying to all the gods that these two little ‘gotes stick around for the long haul. Because I want this to happen literally more than anything else in my whole life.

You know, when I was 13, I went to my local amusement park on a “date” with my boyfriend, now husband. We were standing in line for the roller coaster with ours backs against the wall, when out of nowhere, without saying a word, my cute little boyfriend grabbed my hand for the first time and held on, and I swore right then and there that I was going to die. I thought I would surely pass out, throw up, something. It was a memorable moment that I haven’t forgotten. For weeks after I’d think of that moment and my stomach would turn and my heart would skip a beat. It was an all-encompassing, totally consuming feeling.

And that’s how I feel now, times a million.

You know how I know you’re pregnant?

This is going to be a fun game. Slightly embarrassing at times, but comical.

“The Lion King” is on TV right now, and I turned it on right when Mufasa was trampled and killed in front of Simba. Between the music and the – well, the hormones, okay? It’s the hormones! I may have cried a little. I mean, he was just a little cub and he thought it was his fault and it’s just SO SAD.

I am not a crier. Not at the movies, not when I hear good or bad news. I’m not a crier, even when sometimes it is appropriate for me to cry. But now, with these hormones I assume, good god.

It’s not the first cry I’ve had, either. I was sitting in my car last week, alone, in line at CVS to pick up more Zofran, when a sad Christmas song came on my Pandora station (something by Amy Grant). And I cried in my car. I had to pull myself together when my car rolled up to the pick up window. And last night, Nate and I watched “The Hangover II”, and I may have teared up when the monkey was shot. He would’ve been so scared and upset if it happened for real!! I had to squeeze my dogs a little tighter last night.

This is weird. And not like me. Who AM I???

In other news, the hardest thing at the moment is battling the all day nausea. I am finding that I feel horrible when my stomach is empty, like many of you have said, but I also feel horrible when my stomach is full. And when I eat fast (aka my normal speed). So the balance I am trying to find is impossible!

Because I’ve been on vacation, I’ve been lucky enough to eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Yesterday, macaroni and cheese sounded good and I happened to have a box (gluten free of course), so I ate it, albeit slowly, for lunch and dinner. Today I wanted to expand my sickly palette and ate half a burger and some fries from Plan B (also gluten free, delicious). And Nate has cooked me whatever I have wanted. But I’m going back to work in a few days, and packing for it is going to be hard! This morning, I made my own smoothie and it was tasty, so thanks for that idea Heather! I’ve also learned to try and ignore nausea. And eat anyway, which, up until this point, I’ve only been nauseous when I’m sick, so eating was out of the question. All new rules. I’m fine with that, and nervous about keeping these little mini-babies healthy. Our ultrasound on Wednesday will hopefully provide two strong heartbeats.

Hakuna Matata.

The IVF miracle(s)

First, thanks to everyone for your thoughtful comments and suggestions over the last few posts. It became apparent that this new, sickly version of myself was normal, and I’ve wondered how you all have managed it. You guys must be superheroes!

Well, my “real” ultrasound isn’t until next week, but my doctor did want to do one before he left for vacation. It was early, a day shy of 6 weeks, but I knew we would find out something very important. And we did. There were 2 black blobs, 2 little circles, 2 “fetal poles”. Lord, at least right now I can honestly say – I’m having twins!!!

No wonder I feel like crap.

I was afraid to share this here at first because it is so early. What if we go to our ultrasound next week (I’ll be 7 and a half weeks) and one black blob is empty? It happens and I am trying to prepare myself for it. But I guess I’m just thinking, for the time being, there are two little mini-babies in there. My doctor, who tries not to get you pregnant with multiples, might be kicking himself. He was the one who recommended two to be put in, after all. I guarantee that if he thought they both were going to take, he never would’ve put them both in. But we wanted to anyway. We are a couple of happy individuals.

It has taken me a few days, as I am still working through the shock and denial of being pregnant at all, not to mention with twins, and I’m still not even close to imagining two babies in our house, but I can say that I’m finally excited. Really, really excited. Holy crap!!! When did this all happen? It’s just crazy-town. I can’t believe it.

I had always thought that to some extent, the degree of morning sickness you have is genetic. My mother barely had anything, so I was looking forward to feeling good most of the time. But the game all changes when there’s more than one being in there. So yeah, this around-the-clock nausea was no joke.

I jinxed myself, too. Not 10 minutes after my last post I went and threw up. And while my stomach felt better, I was a sweaty, weak mess. And that is no fun. Over the course of about five days, I lost about six pounds. I called the nurse and worried aloud what to do about the fact that I could not eat. Like, anything. Just couldn’t do it. And when I did force food, I actually felt worse. But I also didn’t want to land myself in the hospital. And the nurse said, “If you can’t eat, don’t. You’ll survive without food for a few days.” To keep myself out of the hospital, I needed to drink.

Fast forward to today. Zofran is a million-dollar miracle, worth every penny I spend on it, not covered by insurance. And by that I mean $55 for 10 pills, and I took 4 a day. But I went from being bed-ridden, sucking down ice chips and shaking uncontrollably, to finally being able to eat, though not much at a time. I will be able to go to work. I can deal with all day mild nausea. I just was able to drop my middle-of-the-night dose, because I feel great when I’m sleeping. So now it’s 3 pills a day. Hopefully, as time goes by, I’ll be off of it entirely. But until then, it has allowed me to function like a person again. A person who is pregnant with twins, at least for today.

Sick

This is going to sound like complaining, and I don’t want to give the wrong impression. But really, I guess I am complaining. There’s a big difference between complaining and wishing a pregnancy away. I’m not wishing anything away and I never would. Deep down I am truly thrilled to be pregnant but it’s very hard to concentrate on that now, with how I feel. I’m just simply saying:

I have never felt this sick in my life.

This is not occasional bouts of slight nausea that crackers can fix. This is round-the-clock, 24/7 extreme nausea that has knocked me off my feet and rendered me dysfunctional, and it hit all of a sudden last Wednesday night, at 5 and a half weeks.

And it is extremely frustrating. It’s a good thing it is the weekend and I’m on school vacation, because I never could go to work like this in a million years. Multiple times today I’ve just been rocking back and forth, nibbling on one Rice Krispie at a time. I can barely swallow them. I can’t sleep when I feel this bad. I’ve been 5 seconds from throwing up, but somehow I’ve held it off. I just know that throwing up once won’t do the trick. I’ll be on the bathroom floor all night. I can’t drive far, I can’t do any chores around the house. It’s like the worst stomach bug I’ve ever had (and I’ve had it plenty), but 24/7 for now the 4th day straight. And each day it’s worse, and I can’t imagine feeling any sicker and then I do.

I feel a little weird talking about this here, and I certainly don’t want to offend anyone. It is just the outlet I need when I want to talk about something, and right now, this is all I’ve got.

So, at 10:00 tonight, my husband called the nurse on call and she got me a prescription for Zofran. I am the last person to ask for drugs for anything, but I am absolutely desperate and will do anything to bring this nausea down a few levels. I have a feeling it will be getting worse. My amazing husband who has been at my beck and call all day and laid with me, pressing the “buttons” on my sea-bands (which don’t even touch this, by the way) is on his way to CVS now. I am very appreciative of his help but we both know this is going to get old real quick.

I know part of the problem at the moment is my empty stomach but I just can’t eat anything. Nothing wants to be in my mouth, including mints, crackers, and dry cereal. It’s bad. I do have other stomach problems and have all day, and I learned that my prenatal takes the nausea to a new level.

I don’t know anything about Zofran, except that it isn’t covered by insurance, but I am in need of a miracle. This just feels like the most unbearable thing, that I must say I’m too weak, both physically and mentally, to endure for 10 more weeks.