I honestly... I just don't even know where too begin. HOW?! Like, I am still in utter SHOCK and disbelief. Truly.
Mostly because I assumed, that would NEVER happen to me.
I would never be that girl.
Ever. Period. Not in the cards.
Going through four-and-a-half years of infertility and loss... believe me, I have heard "those stories." You know the ones... where someone is trying to bring comfort by saying something to the effect of, "well, my brother's best friend's older sister..." yada yada.
And mostly you shrug it off like, 'yeah, yeah.' Thanks, but no thanks.
Well, I guess I truly should never say never.
Because in a world full of possibilities
MIRACLES CAN HAPPEN.
I should know, I already have one in my arms right now. And now, in my belly.
How It Happened
Maybe my Body just Knew what to do
To be honest, the body is an incredible thing. Perhaps my body, since it's been pregnant several times before, and carried Luna to term, just simply knew what to do.
I can now actually FEEL when I ovulate
But oddly enough, ever since my period returned since having Luna, I have been able to FEEL when I ovulate. Actually FEEL. How weird is that?! Is that a thing that commonly happens postpartum? Never ever in my life have I been actually able to feel when I ovulate. And quite frankly, nearly every single month since my period returned postpartum, I have mistaken said ovulation for a pregnancy. In fact, the first time I felt my body beginning to ovulate, I was CONVINCED I was pregnant. So much so, that I refused to believe the 'negative' pee-sticks, and called my IVF doctor. They had me come in for an ultrasound, and sure enough, I was just simply ovulating. I was mind blown.
From then, every single month I could tell when I was beginning to ovulate. First came the distinctive bloat/lower abdominal fullness, then came the difficulty emptying my bladder, the constipation, and the pain what I could only describe as feeling eerily similar to the 'round ligament' pains I would get while pregnant (in all three of my pregnancies).
While annoying AF because I continually felt let down every month after yet again mistaking my ovulation for pregnancy only to have 'aunt flow' return, it certainly helped in detecting the right 'moment' to initiate sex haha.
I had an HSG/SGH in December
But despite these two things, I definitely had help. Remember back in December when I had my latest HSG/SGH (hysterosalpingography X-ray/sonohysterography ultrasound) in preparation for my January 17th frozen embryo transfer (FET)? Well, as you may recall, I had started my meds and we were well on our way, but that FET ended up getting cancelled due to my reaction to the meds. Fate? Destiny? Divine intervention?
However, for those who don't know, an HSG/SGH is a procedure where they inject contrasting fluid into your uterus during the X-ray/ultrasound to simultaneously detect (and clear out) any blockages in your Fallopian tubes. Well, on it's own, this procedure can really improve your chances of conception.
Obviously, that alone had never worked for us in the past (we have been having unprotected sex and have been consistently 'tracking' my ovulation for the past SIX YEARS). I mean, we started having unprotected sex the moment I was cleared to do so at my six-weeks postpartum OB appointment since Luna.
But for some reason, this time, something changed. I assume the HSG/SGH helped drastically. And perhaps so did the meds? But following my third period post-procedure, IT HAPPENED.
How We Found Out
The moment it happened, I KNEW. I just knew. I don't know how. But I did. Like I said, ever since I have had Luna, believe me, we have had plenty of disappointing false alarms. But this time, something felt different.
I told Ben, 'I swear, I am either pregnant or I have a UTI.' I think he kind of brushed it off like, 'yeah, yeah, ok... we've been here before.' But regardless, I took a test. Sure enough, NEGATIVE. I couldn't believe it. But at the same time, I'm a little crazy. I thought, 'well, maybe it's too early?' SO the next day, I took another. NEGATIVE. And the next day, another. NEGATIVE. By Saturday, February 16th I had had it. I woke up and told Ben I wanted to go to Urgent Care to get tested for a UTI. Before leaving the house, I took another... NEGATIVE.
So I went to Urgent Care while Ben took Luna to Starbucks. I told them when I got there that I had taken a pregnancy test and it was negative. They tested my urine sample and it too came back NEGATIVE for both a pregnancy and UTI. Am I seriously just so baby hungry that I am legit crazy?!
Regardless, they prescribed an antibiotic... just in case. I decided to hold off on taking it... just in case a miracle was indeed underway.
My last menstrual period (LMP) had been January 29th. I believe we conceived on February 7th or 8th (we were 'sexually active' so-to-speak on both days). I felt that I was ovulating during that time, but I am pretty sure I actually ovulated on February 9th. And oddly enough, that same evening, February 9th, we had attended a lantern festival where we had put our wishes for another baby into the night sky. I wrote on my lantern, 'For Baby Lindquist #2, 2019.' Ben corrected me and said with our next scheduled FET (May 30th), it would actually be a 2020 baby. So he wrote on his lantern, 'To the next Baby Lindquist 2020.'
I don't know, maybe God was really at work here? Our prayers and wishes were heard.
Because I had kept getting negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test, I decided that maybe it was just simply too early to detect. So I waited.
According to the First Response pregnancy tests, the it can detect as early as six days before your period. So on February 23rd, I woke up determined. I had run out of pregnancy tests though. I rolled over in Bed at 6am and said, 'Hey Ben, want to go get a coffee and take me to Walgreens?' He said, 'Are you serious?!' and then laughed. So we woke Luna up and drove to Walgreens. We came right back home, and I went straight to the bathroom while he went and sat on our bed with Luna in his lap.
I peed. And I didn't even bother waiting the suggested three agonizing minutes. I stared intently at the stick laying on the floor by my feet while on the toilet. And sure enough... a second line started slowly appearing.
I said, 'BABE!' And Ben said, 'NO WAY!'
I hopped up, grabbed the stick, ran to him and Luna, hugged him and just began sobbing with the biggest smile on my face. I was so flushed, my heart was pounding, my hands were shaking. I was truly SHOCKED.
I immediately texted my IVF doctor's office and scheduled a beta test (a blood draw to confirm I was indeed pregnant).
While getting ready that day, my hands were shaking so bad that I actually burned myself TWICE with my curling iron. That night, I couldn't sleep, googling absolutely everything I had done recently, including drinking wine, taking advil, having done a face laser treatment, using hydroquinone on my face etc. I am truly terrified of having yet another miscarriage or losing another baby to another Trisomy 13 chromosomal disorder.
I decided that God gave us a miracle. And to hope for the best. I found out pretty dang early so that gave me hope that I could rectify things early.
My Beta Levels
At their earliest Monday morning appointment I drove to my IVF doctor for my beta blood draw. I ran into a reader turned friend there, and I felt so bad having to lie about why I was there. But I simply wasn't ready to blast it quite yet. I needed confirmation.
And sure enough, my first beta blood draw (on February 25th) was 189.6!!!!!!! (They want to see anything between 50-100 at this time). My progesterone was 36 (they want to see anything over 20)! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?!
THIS MEANS THAT I DON'T HAVE TO DO ANY SHOTS THIS PREGNANCY! LIKE, WHAT?! A NORMAL PREGNANCY? NO HORMONES? IS THIS REAL LIFE?!
Two days later, my beta was at 635.3! HOLY CRAP! That more than doubled (usually they want to see your beta numbers slightly more than double). Are we in TWINS territory?! Usually high beta levels can indicate twins.
Six days later, my beta was at 6,508 (should have been around 5000). Holy smokes that's high. I was googling beta levels like crazy using the betabase.info website trying to compare my levels to the average single and twins pregnancies.
How It's Been Going Since Then
Since then, I had my first ultrasound when I finally hit the six-weeks-four-days benchmark (the earliest you can do an ultrasound).
What I was expecting was to see twins. We were elated to to be greeted with a beautiful single baby with a strong heartbeat of 123. WHAT A RELIEF!!!!!!!! What comfort that high heart rate brought.
However, what I was not expecting was to see a 3-inch (86mm diameter / 8.6cm) cyst on my left ovary.
I guess even when it's 'easy,' it's never truly 'easy.'
I was honestly devastated. With my first pregnancy with the identical twins back in 2015, I had a rather large subchorionic hemorrhage (internal blood clot) that had likely dislodged the sac, causing a miscarriage. Ill be damned if I will let ANYTHING interfere with this baby and this pregnancy.
What my Ovarian Cyst Means
Unfortunately, it's kind of just a 'wait and see' kind of situation. My IVF doctor said that that's all we can do right now. And that no doctor would even touch it before 20 weeks. If it remains however, after the 20-week mark I may have to have it surgically drained laparoscopically. Meaning, I would have to go under anesthesia, WHILE PREGNANT, and have it drained via a procedure that largely resembles my appendix removal surgery.
If you happen to google (a mistake I made), 'large cysts' (defined as anything from 6cm to 8cm) are 'likely to burst'. What is scary is that a ruptured cyst is the most dangerous because not only does it cause intense pain (similar to that of my appendicitis last year), but can also lead to early labor and miscarriage. SCARY AF.
Cysts this size can also pose a danger for your ovaries. You have to be careful not to let it cause an 'ovarian torsion,' aka twist. This would cut off blood supply to my Fallopian tube and ovary. If this happens, it can lead to tissue death, rendering me unable to conceive with my left ovary.
Thus, I have been placed on a 'power walking' regimen that includes no running, no jumps/jump squats/burpees etc and no abdominal exercise.
We continue to monitor the cyst via ultrasound each week and so far, it has not continued to grow (THANK GOODNESS). And FINALLY, at week 12, it FINALLY reduced its size ever so slightly!
OH MY GOD WHAT A RELIEF! That means it's on a downward trend. I may not be out of surgery territory quite yet, but it's a REALLY good sign.
So all my fingers and toes are crossed.
How I have Been Feeling
To be honest, I have been SICK AS A DOG this pregnancy. Entirely unlike my pregnancy with Luna (Luna was a breeze), I have been debilitatingly nauseous. Thank goodness for my nanny because it is not easy being pregnant and having a toddler.
Most days I had a hard time opening my eyes in the morning, let alone getting dressed or putting on makeup and eating a meal (YUCK).
I swear if you even mention anything containing marinara sauce I will puke.
Some nights I have to go outside while Ben eats dinner because I can't even stand the smell.
I have been surviving off a steady diet of diclegis in the evenings (an anti-nausea med containing unisom for sleep) and zofran the moment I wake up. Obviously taking Zofran is not ideal (a class B medication), but we do what we have to to survive and be a mom, am I right?! 'Preggy pops,' ginger chews and ginger ale have all also been my best friends.
Oh, and don't get me started on my zits. I swear I wake up with at least one new miniature white head every day now. What the heck?!
When I'm Due
You want to know what the biggest MIRACLE OF ALL IS?!
We always said we wanted 'another Luna.' She's amazing! And if I could have one million of her I truly would.
Despite the fact that we purposefully were avidly avoiding a February transfer (FET) because that's when we had transferred Luna and I always said I wanted my babies to have their own birthdays and birth signs (let's be real, ONE Scorpio is enough haha)... But God had other plans because...
I HAVE THE EXACT SAME DUE DATE AS I HAD WITH LUNA: NOVEMBER 5th!
What are the odds?! Seriously. I want to know. Because my cycle has forever been irregular and my period typically comes every 24-26 days. That means there is no chance in hell that my LMP's (last menstrual periods) would match up. But sure enough, my LMP with BOTH babies was January 29th.
Obviously Luna was induced early and we will likely do the same with this baby... so it's looking like a late October baby yet again (likely anytime between October 29-31).
Why I waited (again) to tell you
I wanted to tell you guys right away. I truly did. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. And I also wanted to be there for my IVF warriors because I knew you guys were waiting for me to start and share our next FET preparation etc. I was planning on posting ALL of it, from our shots to the hormones to the appointments and blood draws and ultrasounds etc. etc.
But before I announced I wanted to make sure I was truly 1000% pregnant. But then that day came with my beta draw and I still wasn't ready to say it aloud and possibly jinx it. So I wanted to wait until we heard the heartbeat. But then we discovered the cyst. And it scared the crap out of me.
I wasn't ready to announce because... what if? What if I miscarry again? What if I lose this miracle baby and have to publicly announce yet again another miscarriage? I don't know if I would survive that. I went through that... twice. And still, to this day, I can't really talk about it. I have never officially put pen-to-paper and written about my miscarriage experiences.
Not because I am ashamed or embarrassed or don't want to somehow, someway help others. But because I simply am STILL not ready to relive them.
Relive the excruciating pain. The endless amounts of blood. The can't-see-through-my-eyes tears. The suffering. The loss. The despair and heartbreak. The fact that I had to carry my dead babies around in my belly for 32 agonizing days until my body realized they were gone. The fact that the morphine BARELY took the edge off. The fact that pushing out identical twins sharing the same sac felt like pushing out a 22 week old baby. The fact that once my dead babies finally made their way out, the ER nurses placed them on the countertop next to the garbage can and then left the room. That I had to stare at my dead, bloody babies laying next to a garbage can as I was hooked up to IV's for forty-five whole minutes before someone came back. And when I asked them to remove them so I didn't have to see them there like that anymore, that they literally tossed them in that same garbage can. Like they were nothing. That I couldn't leave the house for weeks. That I couldn't bear to think about, let alone talk about them. That I still cry every time I think of them. That walking into my second miscarriage D&C appointment willingly was one of the hardest walks I've ever taken. That the recovery felt like someone had puffed my entire body full of air, getting trapped underneath my shoulder blades. That I didn't leave my bed for days. That my thoughts took me down dark alleys filled with failure.
I wasn't ready to relive or re-experience ANY of that.
So I waited.
I waited for the right time. For a day where I felt good enough to get up off the couch and actually put on makeup and shoot an announcement photo. That day didn't come until week 10 (these images you see).
And then came the fear. What if you guys resented me? What if you were angry that this miracle happened for us. Believe me, I get it. Like I said, we have all heard 'those stories.' And for the most part, my reaction was sometimes, to my shame, 'that bitch, was she ever really even 'infertile?'' Because there's no way that girl would be me.
And then came National Infertility Awareness Week. I didn't want to announce our pregnancy during such an important time in raising awareness for infertility. My most important mission is to BE THERE FOR YOU GUYS! However I can. I didn't want to take away from that.
But now, here we are. I am ready. I am ready to shout it from the rooftops: